2017 NHL Pre-Season Roster Rules review

Who can the Lightning dress and how many veterans must they dress?

Tonight. Hockey. Returns. Well, kinda. The Tampa Bay Lightning will take to the ice this evening at Amalie Arena to face the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s just the pre-season, but at least it’s hockey and it means we’re one step closer to the opening of the regular season. Who’s excited? I’M EXCITED!

The only downside to pre-season hockey, especially the first few games, is that you won’t be seeing all of your favorites in the game. The coaching staff must balance the needs of getting their NHLers the proper amount of reps with building chemistry on lines and evaluating younger players.

Some of the junior-bound players will get into a game early and then be sent back to their respective junior teams. The AHLers will stick around a bit longer before going on to AHL camp. And the NHLers won’t be playing every game but need to get enough ice time to get into the groove for the season. Some players will be playing for a handful of roster spots with the Lightning that are up for grabs.

Let’s just take a minute to review the preseason roster rules and who fits the requirements for those rules.

15.4 (c) of the NHL-NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement

A Club shall be permitted to dress a minimum of eight (8) veterans for any Exhibition Game. For purposes of this Section 15.4(c), a veteran shall constitute either: (1) a forward or defenseman who played in thirty (30) NHL Games during the previous season, (2) a goaltender who either dressed in fifty (50) or more NHL Games or played in thirty (30) or more NHL Games in the previous season, (3) a first round draft choice from the most recent year's Entry Draft, or (4) any Player who has played one-hundred (100) or more career NHL Games. The matter of Player participation in Exhibition Games shall be referred to the NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee for its consideration and recommendations, if any, in accordance with Article 22.

The reason for the veteran rule is to prevent teams from only bringing unknown players to exhibition games. They want to give fans some reason to come to games and bring money into the arenas. Even when they are playing an away game, they will need to bring at least some star power to the game.

The Lightning currently have 63 players in training camp. Below, I’ve broken them down into players that fit the veteran rule for exhibition games and players that don’t.



  • Michael Bournival
  • J.T. Brown
  • Ryan Callahan
  • Cory Conacher
  • Erik Condra (injured, unlikely to play)
  • Gabriel Dumont
  • Tyler Johnson
  • Alex Killorn
  • Nikita Kucherov
  • Chris Kunitz
  • Vladislav Namestnikov
  • Ondrej Palat
  • Cedric Paquette
  • Brayden Point
  • Steven Stamkos/


  • Braydon Coburn
  • Jake Dotchin
  • Cal Foote
  • Dan Girardi
  • Victor Hedman
  • Jamie McBain
  • Anton Stralman
  • Andrej Sustr/


  • Peter Budaj
  • Michael Leighton
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy/



  • Antony Cirelli
  • Shane Conacher
  • Adam Erne
  • Alex Gallant
  • Yanni Gourde
  • Kevin Hancock
  • Brett Howden
  • Mathieu Joseph
  • Boris Katchouk
  • Alexey Lipanov
  • Kevin Lynch
  • Tye McGinn
  • Christopher Paquette
  • Matthew Peca
  • Taylor Raddysh
  • Mitchell Stephens
  • Jonne Tammela (injured, unlikely to play)
  • Otto Somppi (injured, unsigned, and unlikely to play)
  • Carter Verhaeghe
  • Alexander Volkov
  • Dennis Yan/


  • Matt Bodie
  • Erik Cernak
  • Libor Hajek
  • Slater Koekkoek
  • Dominik Masin
  • Reid McNeil
  • Mikhail Sergachev
  • Oleg Sosunov
  • Matt Spencer
  • Ben Thomas
  • Daniel Walcott/


  • Connor Ingram
  • Joseph Raaymakers (invitee, unsigned, and unlikely to play)
  • Nicola Riopel/

Yesterday, the game roster for tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes was released.

As expected, there aren’t very many big names in the lineup. There are some new-comers, some prospects, and some familiar faces though. It will be Lightning fans’ first look at prospects Alexey Lipanov, Cal Foote, Oleg Sosunov, and Alexander Volkov. In addition, new Syracuse Crunch veterans Jamie McBain and Michael Leighton will suit up. Nicola Riopel, who has been with the organization the past two and a half seasons serving as the 5th goaltender, will suit up in a Lightning jersey for the first time.

Nine of the 20 players on the roster meet the veterans rule and surpasses the requirement of eight players.