We have reported countless times on Will Butcher, Alex Kerfoot or even Blaine Byron over the last couple of weeks. These three players are just the most recent examples of college players that decided not to join the NHL team that drafted them, and instead chose to become free agents.
Veteran forward Brandon Dubinsky took to Twitter earlier today to comment on this National Hockey League policy that allows players like Butcher to become free agents after they're done with the NCAA. And let's just say he was very clear:
As we can read on Sportsnet, "Players drafted out of college have their rights retained by their drafting teams for four years, after which time – if a deal is not reached – they can become unrestricted free agents. That affords NCAA players a desirable route to choosing the club with which they may start their career – an option not given to young players coming out of major junior hockey."
We have seen Justin Schultz take advantage of this loophole in 2012, Kevin Hayes, who was drafted by Chicago but signed with the Rangers in 2014 and finally Jimmy Vesey, who signed with the Rangers even though he was selected by the Preds, in 2016. This has got to change.