HFNHL RULE CHANGES: 2005-2006 1. Unrestricted Free Agency: 2006: 31 (playerâ€™s age after this year, so all players currently 30 or older on the player vital pages) 2007: 30 2008: 29 (and stays there after) 2. Player Minimum salary: $450,000 All salaries lower than $450,000 this season will survive. However, after this year, all contracts will immediately jump to $450,000. If a team does not wish to keep a player making less than $450,000 at this price, they will be given the opportunity to buy-out the player at a cost of 100% of the playersâ€™ annual salary (this will not count towards the cap). The player will then become a UFA. The minimum to sign a player going forward is $450,000. 3. Player Maximum salary: $8 million. All those currently earning more than $8 million will be exempt from this rule. 4. Qualifying offers: Players earning $450,000-$1,000,000 will be entitled to QO at 110% of prior year's salary; Players earning >$1,000,000 will be entitled to QO at 100% of their prior year's salary. 5. Rookie Cap: Entry Level players will be subject to a maximum annual salary as follows: Drafted 2003-2006: $850,000 Drafted 2007-2008: $875,000 Drafted 2009-2010: $900,000 Drafted 2011: $925,000 6. Signing Bonuses: There will be no more signing bonuses. All player contracts will purely be on an annual basis, which simplifies adherence to the salary cap and player comparisons. This rule will be re-visited next off-season. 7. Salary Cap: As has been previously announced, this season there is a $40 million soft cap with luxury tax applied up to $45 million, and a hard cap at $45 million (see message board for full details) Next year, there will be a $40 million hard cap, with draft pick penalties for those exceeding the hard cap as follows: $0-1 million: a 4th round draft pick $1-2 million: a 3rd round draft pick $2-3 million: a 2nd round draft pick $3-4 million: a 1st round draft pick $4-5 million: a 1st & 3rd round draft pick $5-7.5 million: a 1st & 2nd round draft pick $7.5-10 million: two 1st round draft picks * All picks will be first available If a team exceeds the cap by more than $10 million, it is grounds for the franchise being revoked. 8. Market value: In determining a pending RFA or UFAâ€™s value, the current market climate in the NHL will be used in combination with the playerâ€™s rating and current play in the NHL (so if the player is having a great year, and there rating is likely to increase, naturally their market value and demands increase). For pending UFAâ€™s, a randomizer is applied to determine the playerâ€™s likelihood and loyalty of re-signing. Keep in mind that in attempting to re-sign your players, you are only given the opportunity to make three bonafide offers to the player before they break off negotiations and commit to testing free agency. This is meant to dissuade GMâ€™s from continuously making marginal offers for players. Also, insulting offers are also grounds for increasing the demands of the player (Reggie is after all, vindictive, if nothing else). Long-term loyalty factor: All players who have played with a franchise for 5 years or more will automatically reduce their demands by 10% (but still be subject to the loyalty randomizer). Reggie Swingstein will continue to handle all player negotiations. 9. WAIVER DRAFT/WAIVERS/TEAM SIZE Waiver Draft: Like the NHL, we will no longer have a waiver draft. Waivers: This has been simplified - all players 25 and younger will be exempt from waivers. All those 26 and older must clear waivers. This will be reviewed next season. Team Size: After this season, teams will be required to reduce their total team size (signed players and prospects) to 90 players. This must be done by August 1st, 2006. The following season, this will be reduced to 80. Teams will be given a one-time opportunity to buy-out any signed players this off-season at a cost of 100% of the playerâ€™s annual salary (which will not count towards their cap). There will continue to be no limit of how long you can hold a prospect, although there will continue to be a $50,000 annual fee to hold a prospect beyond the first two years of holding their rights. Keep in mind this is putting us more in line with the NHL â€“ which has a team limit â€“ and is meant to reduce some of the marginal signings that take place in our league. 11. RATINGS We will look at how we rate players next off-season, although no major changes are anticipated. 12. Euros Players in Europe as of October 1st will be pulled off their respective roster and placed on the prospect list (at a $50,000 annual price). However, any player who returns to the NHL by December 1st, will be allowed back in the HFNHL on the same date as their return to the NHL (i.e. Kovalchuk this year). It is up to the GM owning this player to send a notice of reinstatement with a link to verify the player has in fact returned to a professional hockey team in North America. 13. Compensation picks: There will no longer be compensation picks for players lost via unrestricted free agency. RFA compensation will remain the same. 14. Signing pending UFAâ€™s Any team signing a player who is a pending UFA will not be able to trade the player until all-star break of the following year without paying 100% of the playerâ€™s salary, which is essentially the cost of buying out the no-trade clause.