A few weeks ago, reports came out that Hockey Canada's President Bob Nicholson had made a proposal to the NHL to raise the draft eligibility age to 19. I initially ignored the proposal, thinking it was borderline ridiculous, and instead focused on my three part series on how to improve the current development system. However, raising the draft age has started to get some traction, with Elliotte Friedman reporting that NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr met with Nicholson, with Nicholson himself saying he has gotten support from NHL GMs, league executives, and the IIHF.
Let's leave out the antitrust argument that exists with prohibiting legal age players from playing professional hockey strictly due to their age (that is above the legal limit), and just focus on the points that Nicholson is addressing. His main argument is
"I think right now it's like a hundred-yard dash for our players to be moving up a division," Nicholson told TSN Radio's Bryan Hayes Monday. "We should slow that down and make sure that players stay at the level they should be at and become superstars."
Going back to a piece I wrote a while back on the CHL-NHL agreement, here is how many 18- and 19-year-old players have played in the NHL since 2001:
Season 18-year-old players 19-year-old players
2009-10 2 10
2008-09 2 10
2007-08 1 9
2006-07 1 5
2005-06 1 0
2004-05 Lockout Lockout
2003-04 3 7
2002-03 2 7
2001-02 2 5
2000-01 2 7