Tuesday's Talk 10/4

Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Robert Hagg will be entering the season with the proverbial chip on his shoulder. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
A new weekly feature this upcoming season to generate discussion during the week.

Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook
Editor's Note: Each week, the plan is to have this weekly feature available for more discussion during the week. While Phantoms/Flyers related questions will be a center of focus, any AHL-related questions are welcome and will be answered here each week.

To submit your questions for next week's edition of Tuesday's Talk, you can simply leave your question in the comments section of this or any article on the website. You can also ask your questions via FaceBook or Twitter (links are in the byline of this article). 

The NHL's preseason is nearing its end, and teams are getting down to their final cuts - which need to be made by October 11th to get to the 23-man roster limit. Players are hitting the waiver wire with regularity in recent days, and so far everyone has made it through and been reassigned to their AHL affiliate.

The Flyers are no stranger to that, having placed a total of seven guys - defensemen T.J. Brennan and Will O'Neill and forwards Greg Carey, Chris Conner, Colin McDonald, Andy Miele and Petr Straka - on waivers in the past few days. All have cleared and made it through to the Phantoms except for McDonald, who was placed on waivers today by Philadelphia.

The Phantoms' captain can be reassigned to Lehigh Valley at noon tomorrow pending him going unclaimed. 

Back after a week break is your weekly Tuesday Talk. Your questions answered and this week we talk about why certain players are AHL-eligible at 18 but others cannot play in the 'A' until their 20.

Be sure you're also following Highland Park Hockey on Twitter (@H_P_Hockey) and subscribe to the newly created YouTube channel for even more extra content this season!

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Tuesday's Topic - AHL Eligibility

We took a one-week break last week, but have discussed waiver exemptions and the AHL's veteran rule in prior weeks.

This week, it's all about understanding why Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny aren't eligible to play in the AHL at 19 and why Robert Hagg was with the Phantoms full-time as a 19-year-old. It's actually a simple explanation of the rules.

For all the prospects playing in Canadian Junior hockey leagues (the WHL, OHL and QMJHL), the rule requires that the player must turn 20 years old by December 31st during that season to be eligible to play in the AHL.
Example: Player A played in the QMJHL and begins the 2016-17 season as a 19-year old. His birthday is on December 25th, 2016. Therefore, Player A is AHL eligible for the 2016-17.
For prospects playing overseas, there isn't a rule that limits them from playing in the AHL at 19 years old or even 18. More times than not, however, younger players overseas tend to continue to develop their game - be it because they are under contract for an overseas pro team (i.e. the SHL in Sweden or the KHL in Russia) or would prefer playing close to home professionally than move to North America to play in the minor leagues (AHL or ECHL).

The following is an interesting example, but nonetheless accurate under the current rules in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA)
Example: Auston Matthews might have been born in the United States, but because he played in the Swiss-A league with Zurich HC he's technically eligible to play in the AHL this season as an 19-year-old. Obviously, Matthews will be in the NHL with Arizona, but you might start to see a trend here.
Instead of playing junior hockey in Canada or going the collegiate route (NCAA) and thus needing to be 20 to play in the AHL, a guy could decide to take his talents overseas and bypass that rule - being able to play in the AHL a full year earlier.

From a Lehigh Valley Phantoms perspective, both sides of the rule are put into effect.

Technically, Oskar Lindblom was eligible to play in the AHL at the beginning of last season as a 19-year-old like Robert Hagg did at 19 since Lindblom also was playing overseas in Sweden and not subject to the CHL agreement that keeps players from playing in the AHL until age 20.

On the other side of it, CHL guys like Travis Konecny (OHL Sarnia Sting) and Ivan Provorov (WHL Brandon Wheat Kings) won't be AHL-eligible until their junior team's season has ended this spring or until next season (Konecny turns 20 in March, Provorov 20 in January).

Your Questions Answered!

Q: How high do you think Robert Hagg's ceiling is? Top 4 as projected when he was drafted or something else? - via @lucello888 on Twitter
A: I'm not quite sure Hagg still projects to be a top-four defenseman as first hoped when he was drafted, perhaps a solid third pairing NHL'er down the road if he starts to put it all together. With all the Flyers' defense prospects perhaps that also clouds what Hagg's max potential is.  For a detailed look of Hagg's season last year, I wrote about it in an in-depth feature earlier this summer.
Q: Seems like a reach, but could the Flyers possibly get rid of Streit AND Schultz and start the season with Morin and Provorov? - via @PhillySportsCov on Twitter
A: Definitely a stretch. I don't think either will be moved before the start of the season - especially considering Schultz is rehabbing a minor injury. Morin and Provorov might be locks on the Flyers' blue line in 2017-18 though.
Q: Any update on Mark Alt? Any chance he's ready for the season opener (Saturday, October 15th)? - via @futureofphilly on Twitter
A: No real update from the Flyers other than that he's out indefinitely, but I was told it's a separated shoulder sustained when he fell during his fight in the preseason game at the PPL Center. If it is indeed another separated shoulder for Alt, he's going to miss a month maybe more.
Q: Where does Reece Willcox fit in? Seems like the odd man out on the blue line. 7th D? ECHL? - via @PhillySportsCov on Twitter
Before Mark Alt's injury, Willcox was likely looking at a roster battle with a few guys like Max Lamarch and Jesper Pettersson just to stay on the AHL roster. Now, I think Willcox will find himself beginning the year on the Phantoms' third pairing. I'm going to have a story on him coming up soon. 
In Case You Missed It

An absolute must-read by Tim Riday, who wrote a full update on all Flyers prospects playing across the globe - including Oskar Lindblom who is absolutely on fire to start the 2016-17 season. The future is bright, and Riday has you covered all season long on what the prospects are up to.

Over the weekend, I caught up with Phantoms' head coach Scott Gordon for a great 1-on-1 chat about various topics on the upcoming season. Gordon says "there will be a lot of expectations" with this group.

As it gets closer to the start of the Phantoms' regular season, I'll continue to feature both new additions and familiar faces on the roster. Here's some I've already done:
Andy Miele Sees Opportunity With Flyers
Taylor Leier Looks to Leave Lasting Impression
Will O"Neill Looks Forward to Facing Penguins


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