A reader recently sent me an e-mail asking about Tips winger Ryan Harrison signing an amateur tryout contract with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, and how that affects Harrison’s status with Everett. After responding, I figured there were other fans who were wondering the same thing, so here’s a blog post trying to help answer that question.
Harrison signed an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) with Lake Erie. My understanding is that the contract was signed directly with the Monsters and not with Lake Erie’s NHL team, the Colorado Avalanche.
Pro teams are allowed to sign an amateur player to an ATO after the player’s season is over. I think I was told teams in the minors are limited to two ATOs per season. These contracts are temporary and non-binding once the pro team’s season is over. Therefore, it has no effect on Harrison’s eligibility to return to Everett next season.
Now, does it affect Harrison’s chances of returning next season? Harrison will be an overager, meaning he’ll be eligible to play professionally in the minors. But for that to happen Harrison will have to sign an entry-level contract with an NHL team, and an entry-level contract is a whole different animal than an ATO, as it binds a player to an organization for three seasons. I suppose it’s possible Harrison will catch someone’s eye during his time with the Monsters. However, I don’t recall many players getting entry-level deals straight after signing an ATO. If a free agent 20-year-old is going to get an entry-level deal, it usually happens while attending an NHL training camp (Riley Armstrong) or during the regular season (Shane Harper). If Harrison were to sign an entry-level deal, it would greatly increase his chances of playing pro next season rather than playing for Everett.
So there’s the gist of it. The ATO on its own probably has little effect on Harrison’s status with the Tips for next season. Hope that helps.