Alex Nylander is making waves. Not in the way you might think, dominating the AHL like his brother did two years ago as a teenager—Alex has just 22 points in 51 games this season for the Rochester Americans—but at the GM Meetings in Boca Raton this week. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Swedish hockey officials made a presentation to the GMs focused on keeping Sweden’s best prospects at home instead of developing them in the AHL. The Nylander brothers, along with some others, were likely focal points of the discussion as they both came over as teenagers to play in North American professional hockey.
Alex in particular had an interesting journey, playing first in OHL before using a loophole to move him straight into the AHL. Though normally players from the CHL aren’t allowed to “go pro” until their 20th birthday, Nylander had played the entire year with the Mississauga Steelheads on loan from his Swedish club, making him eligible like any other European prospect. Others like Andreas Johnson in Toronto, Adrian Kempe in Los Angeles and Julius Bergman in San Jose (and many more around the league) have come over early after being drafted by NHL clubs and continued their development in minor league hockey here. The NHL obviously has a vested interest in keeping the best prospects on their home turf, while individual teams enjoy having control of their development.
- The league did agree on one rule change that will be proposed to the competition committee. Under the proposed change, teams would no longer be allowed to call a time out after an icing to give their players a rest. A small change that could have a big impact late in games, it should be expected to go through and be implemented next season. As Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press points out, the AHL already introduced that change this season.
- The much talked about change to bye-weeks will be put into place next season according to Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. Instead of having each team take their bye-weeks at different times, there will be two set periods that will rest half the teams at a time. Since there will be 31 teams next season, 15 will rest the first week, and 16 the next. Coming out of their breaks, teams will play their first two games against opponents who shared the same rest period.
- The salary cap will increase slightly next season according to Johnston, sitting at $75.5-76MM depending on the inflator negotiations with the NHLPA this summer. While those extra couple of million may help some teams immensely, it doesn’t represent much revenue growth for either side. Frank Seravalli of TSN notes that because this isn’t a final number, most GMs are still assuming a flat cap and will adjust when the league makes an official announcement.
- Michael Traikos of Postmedia gives us the quote we were all dreading about NHL participation in the upcoming Olympics. Bill Daly told Traikos “Unless something changes we’re not going. We’ve said that consistently for three months. There’s nothing new about that.” It’s true that they’ve been consistent with it, but not so bluntly as Daly has finally put it. It seems as though there will be a fight between players wanting to go regardless, and their owners needing them during the season. As Traikos notes, Daly doesn’t seem pressured by that impending bat