There may be a maximum of 23 players on each Club's playing roster at any one time from the commencement of the NHL regular season through the trade deadline. Prior to the start of the season, each Club must submit to the NHL its "Opening Day Playing Roster" which shall be comprised of not more than 23 players. Each Club must have a roster of at least 20 players, composed of 18 skaters and two goaltenders. Players on Injured Reserve do not count in the 23-man limit.
Entry Draft Eligibility
All players age 19 or older [(i) any player who will be age 18 on or before September 15 in the year in which such Entry Draft is held, or (ii) reaches his 19th birthday between September 16 and December 31, both dates included, next following Entry Draft, can attain eligibility by delivering to the League a written notice (Opt in Form) prior to the later of May 1, or seven days following the date such player finishes competing on his team in the year in which such draft is to be held.] are eligible for claim in the Entry Draft, except:
(i) A Player on the Reserve List of a Club, other than as a try-out;
(ii) A player who has been claimed in two prior Entry Drafts;
(iii) A player who previously played in the League and became a free agent pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement;
(iv) A plyer age 21 or older who had played hockey for at least one season in North America when he was age 18, 19 or 20
Entry Draft Order
The order of selection among the Member Clubs in each season shall be determined in the following manner:
A composite of all Member Clubs shall be prepared by placing:
i) First the Clubs which failed to qualify for the preceding playoffs in the order of points earned by each of them in the regular schedule of the preceding season starting with the Club having the lowest points total and followed by the Club having the next lowest points total, and so forth.
ii) The Clubs which participated in the preceding playoffs (but had not been ranked first in their respective Divisions and had not won the Stanley Cup that season) in order of points earned by each of them in the regular schedule of the preceding season starting with the Club having the lowest total points and followed by the Club having the next lowest total points, and so forth.
iii) The Clubs which had been ranked first in their Divisions during the next preceding season (but had not won the Stanley Cup that season) in the order of points earned by each of them in the regular schedule of the preceding season starting with the Club having the lowest total points and followed by the Club having the next lowest total points, and so forth.
iv) The Stanley Cup winner shall select last, thus, positioning all Clubs on the list.
In the event of a tie for any position, such tie shall be resolved by application of the rules governing the determination of final League standings. The resulting list shall constitute the order of selection.
To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in 25 or more NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding seasons. Any player at least 26 years of age (by September 15th of that season) is not considered a rookie.