NHL Entry Level Contracts (ELC) – A Quick Primer


Here’s a quick primer that may be of interest concerning ELC (entry level contracts):

All NHL entry level contracts are age based and all are automatically “two-way” contracts. Players younger than 25 years of age as of September 15th of their first NHL contract must sign an ELC which have set limitations.

Definitions are as follows:

  • Two-Way Contract – the players salary is dependent on the league in which the player is assigned to play. The entry level NHL maximum  salary is $925,000 and AHL maximum salary is $70,000
  • PTO (Professional Try Out) – This is usually only in the AHL and is limited to 25 games. However, technically per the CBA it can be offered in the NHL for a “professional”  goaltender with league approval. No Player shall play in an NHL Game pursuant to a PTO unless and until approved by the League.
  • ATO (Amateur Try Out) – This can be offered in the NHL, AHL or ECHL and generally applies to players leaving college (typically at the end of the season) and who are attempting to turn professional
  • STC (Standard Player Contract) – Usually a standard contract with an AHL or ECHL team
  • ELS (Entry Level Slide) – If a player who is signed to an entry-level contract and is 18 or 19 years of age (as of September 15 of the signing year), does not play in a minimum of 10 NHL games (including both regular season and playoffs; AHL games do not count), their contract is considered to ‘slide’, or extend, by one year. For example, if a player signed an ELC for three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-2018, and their contract slides, their contract is now effective from 2016-17 to 2018-19. An exception to this rule is that if the player is 19 on September 15 of the first year of their contract, and turns 20 between September 16 and December 31, their contract does not slide.

    Second Slide: If an 18-year-old player (at the time of contract signing) has his contract slide and then doesn’t play in at least ten games in the second season either, his contract will slide again.

Based on age, the players offered an NHL entry level deal must be offered the following:

  • Age 18-21: Three-Year Deal
  • Age 22-23: Two-Year Deal
  • Age 24: One- Year Deal
 (exception: "Europeans" one-year deal to Age 27)

NHL Entry Level Contracts have the following components:

  • Maximum Salary $925,000
  • Signing Bonus: Limited to 10% of maximum salary or $92,500 (included in salary)
  • Type A Bonus: Maximum $850,000 ($212,500 per individual bonus) for such performance based qualifiers such as ice time, goals, plus/minus
  • Type B Bonus: Maximum $2,000,000 for league performance awards (example: top 5 post-season awards) per season
  • Theoretically, a player could earn total compensation of $3,775,000

Note: The current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) runs through 9/15/2022.

If you are really ambitious here is the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement

Here is a Guide to the Waiver Process

Collective Bargaining Agreement Cheat Sheet

NHL Salaries Not as Advertised

5 thoughts on “NHL Entry Level Contracts (ELC) – A Quick Primer

  1. Pingback: Cholowski Departs After One Season at SCSU | VIEW FROM CENTER ICE

  2. Ok PTOs are only in the AHL but according to the CBA can be used in the NHL with league approval. Also two PTOs per season in the AHL is a lie. Call the league office.

  3. Pingback: About Free Agency; Caps 2019 UFA and RFA - Friends in Cold Places

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