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Asked Feb 1, 2020 by Mat
Chicago Blackhawks logo Kubalik's Rights - 1 Year Entry Level Deal

Kubalik in Chicago was drafted by LA in 2013, he was never signed & his rights traded to Chicago this summer where he signed.

How many years before a European drafted player, not signed by the team that drafted him ever would become a UFA & free to sign with any team? It had already been 6 years since Kubalik was drafted but LA still retained his rights.

Feb 6, 2020

If a European player is drafted at 18/19 and plays in a league with a transfer agreement (Sweden, Czech, etc.), then the drafting team has his rights for 4 years.  Kubalik was actually drafted out of the OHL, but then went to Europe, so he also falls into the 4 years of rights category.  However, after going to Europe, Kubalik then played in the NLA (Swiss League), which is similar to the KHL in that there is no transfer agreement between that league and the NHL.  When a drafted player who has never signed an Entry Level Contract plays in the KHL or NLA, their NHL team can designate them as a defected player. Once that happens, the players rights remain with the NHL team until they are out of the Entry Level System, or if they switch to a different league, the team must sign them or lose their rights.

So while Kubalik was playing in the NLA, and he was 24, he belonged to his NHL rights holder and had to sign a 1 year Entry Level Deal. This goes over why it was 1 year: