AHL veteran rule now in play for Marlies

Mike Duco is one of seven players on the Marlies who is considered a veteran by AHL rules- Image courtesy of Christian at TSGPhoto

Mike Duco is one of seven players on the Marlies who is considered a veteran by AHL rules- Image courtesy of Christian at TSGPhoto

March 6, 2014

TORONTO– Steve Spott will have to coach from here on out with the AHL development rule in mind.

The Toronto Marlies head coach has never had to worry about the limit on how many veteran players he could dress for an AHL game because he has never had enough veteran players on his roster to be concerned. With the recent demotions of Frazer McLaren and Trevor Smith, however, he will have to make some decisions on who will play and who will sit.

“The AHL has some standards and rules with the amount of veterans you can have in your lineup so we’re at a point where some of these players have to be healthy scratches,” Spott told LeafsTV after Thursday’s practice.

According to the AHL website, “player development is a top priority.”

“The American Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association have the following development rule in place for the 2013-14 season: Of the 18 skaters (not counting two goaltenders) that teams may dress for a game, at least 13 must be qualified as “development players.” Of those 13, 12 must have played in 260 or fewer professional games (including AHL, NHL and European elite leagues), and one must have played in 320 or fewer professional games. All calculations for development status are based on regular-season totals as of the start of the season.”

What that means is Toronto has seven skaters who fall into the veteran class while there are only six open roster spots available for any game.

“They understand the situation,” said Spott.

Those seven players, with games played prior to the 2013-14 season, are:

Brad Staubitz (467), Smith (447), McLaren(292), Mike Duco (268), Jerred Smithson (588), T.J Brennan (265) and Kevin Marshall (293).

Smith and McLaren are both expected to suit up for the Marlies in their next game, which is Friday against the Lake Erie Monsters.

“You’ll see an influx of energy and skill with those guys in our lineup,” said Spott.

It’s likely that Duco will be the odd man out, but with the Marlies not having a limit on roster size Spott doesn’t have to send him to the ECHL anytime soon and could decide to rotate players.

Next season forward Brandon Kozun and defenceman Korbinian Holzer will no longer qualify as development players and will be classed as veterans by AHL rules.

KYLE CICERELLA

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