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Is a player with the following characteristics free to play for any NAHL team, or is he still the property of the team that drafted him?
(a) Was drafted in the regular NAHL entry draft;
(b) Made it through main and training camp and pla*** several games for the NAHL team;
(c) Was benched, starting in October when his team picked up two USHL cuts his exact position;
(d) Dropped off the 25-man "protected list" in mid-October;
(e) Left the team voluntarily to play AAA;
(f) Was never officially released by the NAHL team that drafted him (at least according to the NAHL transactions page); and
(g) His NAHL coach keeps in touch, suggesting (credibly, or not) that he will be brought back up this year and considered a key player next year.
I lack the resources to hire an advisor. Thank you in advance for your help.
Please take this with a grain of salt as I may not be 100% correct, but as I see it, unless he is released by his current NAHL team, he cannot play for another NAHL club. I'm not sure if him being dropped off the team's 25-man protected list plays a role since they drafted him, but based on experience with other junior leagues, both teams would have to agree on the "transfer" of the player.
If he's still in touch with the coach, I don't see the harm in asking if he could play for another team, but that's just my opinion.
Have the NAHL coach that wants him contact his current coach.
Agree to release and transfer or a trade.
He has to be released to play elsewhere in the NAHL. Just went through this, almost identical, except all parties agreed to release. New NAHL team would not even let him practice without a release. Agreed with poster about asking new NAHL coach to contact old team, or player could ask head coach / GM to kindly release him.
If he is not on USA Protected list (or Defected list for a player that didn't report which didn't sound like the case) he is a free agent and free to sign with anyone!