Bob McKenzie on Insider Trading (around the 1:30 mark) speculated that Zane McIntyre (formerly Gothberg), the Bruins 6th round draft pick in 2010 could use a CBA loophole that allows college students to become unrestricted free agents. Kevin Hayes and Justin Schultz have used this loophole in recent years to go to teams other than the one they were drafted by.
Lets take a deeper look into the CBA to see what the Bruins options are, and what compensation - if any - they would receive for him signing elsewhere. First, lets look at what loophole McIntyre would be exploiting in the CBA: 8.6.c. All of this is contingent of him opting to leave school after the Frozen Four, and not return to school for his senior year.
8.6 Reserve list - Exclusive Rights
(c) College Players.
(ii) If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19 is a bona fide college student at the time of his selection in the Entry Draft, or becomes a bona fide college student prior to the first June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft, and does not remain a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of his services until the later of: (a) the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft, or (b) thirty (30) days after NHL Central Registry receives notice that the Player is no longer a bona fide college student; provided that if the Player ceases to be a bona fide college student on or after January 1 of an academic year and the Player: (1) is in his fourth year of college and has commenced his fourth year of NCAA eligibility, or (2) is in his fourth year of college and is scheduled to graduate from college at the end of his fourth year, then in the circumstances described in (1) or (2), the Club shall retain the exclusive right of negotiation for such Player's services through and including the August 15 following the date on which he ceases to be a bona fide college student. The Club need not make a Bona Fide Offer to such Player to retain such rights.
Basically the Bruins have his rights until 30 days after he graduates or when he leaves school. With Jeremy Smith's contract is up at the end of the year, there is space for him in Providence. With Svedberg becoming a group 6 free agent (More on that below), the Bruins could also try and lure McIntyre by offering him the NHL backup job, or say that they plan to promote Malcolm Subban to that role and allow him to get most of the starts in Providence. If McIntyre does sign with the Bruins, their goaltending depth will be set for the future even more than it is now.
(c) Group 6 Free Agents.
(i) Means any Player who is **age 25 or older who has completed three (3) or more professional seasons**, whose SPC has expired and: (i) in the case of a Player other than a goaltender, has played less than 80 NHL Games, or (ii) in the case of a goaltender, has played less than 28 NHL Games (for the purpose of this definition, a goaltender must have played a minimum of thirty (30) minutes in an NHL Game to register a game played).
But what if McIntyre doesn't sign? Would the Bruins receive some form of compensation for losing a talented player? The answer is yes, but the compensation they would get is minimal. Per article 8.3, and that McIntyre was the Bruins 165th overall pick, the Bruins would get the 195th pick as compensation. After getting a steal in the sixth round, losing him for nothing sucks. Luckily, McIntyre will be in Boston for the Frozen Four next week, so Bruins brass can try everything to sign him once his season is over.
8.3 Compensatory Draft Selections.
(a) In addition to the seven (7) rounds of the Entry Draft, there shall be an additional number of Compensatory Draft Selections not to exceed the number of Clubs to be in the League in the following League Year.
(b) In the event a Club loses its draft rights to an Unsigned Draft Choice drafted in the first round of the Entry Draft (except as a result of failing to tender a required Bona Fide Offer (as defined below)), who (i) is again eligible for the Entry Draft, (ii) becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent, or (iii) dies, a Compensatory Draft Selection shall automatically be granted to that Club, which Compensatory Draft Selection shall be the same numerical choice in the second round in the Entry Draft immediately following the date the Club loses such rights. By way of example, if a Club cannot sign the third pick in the first round, it will receive the third pick in the second round as compensation.
In summary: If Zane McIntyre decides to forgo his senior year at the University of North Dakota, the Bruins have 30 days to sign him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If he becomes a free agent and signs with another team, the Bruins will not be compensated in the form of a pick.