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The NHL’s ‘Emergency Rehabilitation Plan’ would cover nightmare scenarios like a plane crash


As’s John Kreiser points out, the NHL has been lucky enough to have never dealt with a catastrophe on the level of what the KHL is going through after Lokomotiv Yaraslavl’s tragic plane crash today.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been any accidents that have shaken up the NHL before, though. Former Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Bill Barilko died in a plane crash in 1951 months after scoring a Stanley Cup-winning goal while former Los Angeles Kings player Ace Bailey and fellow scout Mark Bavis were aboard the second plane that crashed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

That being said, there has never been a situation in which an NHL franchise had to completely rebuild its team because of such a tragedy. Naturally, many people probably couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if an NHL team suffered a similar fate as Lokomotiv did today. Japer’s Rink unearthed a story from the Metro News that explains the league’s “Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.”

The piece explains that the league requires teams to have $1 million insurance policies for all of its players to cover a nightmare scenario like a plane crash. Here’s the rest of the details about such a situation via the Metro News.

If a team is left with fewer than 14 players and one goaltender following some sort of catastrophe, the league sets in motion its Emergency Rehabilitation Plan.

First, the “disabled team” would be allowed to negotiate to buy players under contract from other teams, with payment coming from the insurance money.

If that didn’t fill out the roster, a draft would be held, much like an expansion draft. Teams could protect 10 players and one goalie.

The disabled team would be allowed to take no more than one player from each of the other teams. The price for each player is $1 million in insurance money.

Considering the millions of miles that hockey teams travel, it only makes sense to have a contingency plan, even if it feels a bit morbid to imagine the details. There have been quite a few instances in which sports teams or individuals were involved in plane crashes, so the NHL should feel lucky to avoid such a tragedy. (You can read more about the history of such sad moments in sports here and here [H/T to James Mirtle]).

Let’s hope that we’ll never need to see the Emergency Rehabilitation Program in action, even if it’s a good thing to know that it exists.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.