On Monday afternoon, the Colorado Avalanche announced the signing of center, Joey Hishon, to a three-year entry level contract (see details by visiting CapGeek). Hishon was a controversial first round pick for the Avs, as he was coming off an injury plagued 36 game 2009-10 season in which he put up 40 points. Yet, it didn't stop Colorado from using the 17th overall pick on the forward in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Prior to the 2009-10 season, Hishon was coming off a year in which he put up 81 points in 65 games. Fast forward to 2010-11, Hishon has been a star for the Owen Sound Attack (OHL). As of this posting, Hishon has 83 points in 48 games and will finish in the top 20 of league scoring. He has twice been named player of the week in the OHL this season and earned a player of week nod from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) in December.
While signing this contract offers no guarantees of him playing in the NHL next season, Hishon will be eligible to play in the American Hockey League (AHL) next year. Hishon can play for the Lake Erie Monsters this season on an amateur tryout at the conclusion of the Attack's season (assuming the Monsters season has not ended).
It's also important to note that should Hishon play in any games this season with the Avalanche (which cannot occur until his season with Owen Sound concludes), the first year of his contract would be burned. The "10 game rule" no longer applies to Hishon according to Article 9.1 (d)(i) of the 2005 NHL_NHLPA CBA:
In the event that an 18 year old or 19 year old Player signs an SPC with a Club but does not play at least ten (10) NHL Games in the first season under that SPC, the term of his SPC and his number of years in the Entry Level System shall be extended for a period of one (1) year, except that this automatic extension will not apply to a Player who is 19 according to Section 9.2 by virtue of turning 20 between September 16 and December 31 in the year in which he first signs an SPC. Unless a Player and Club expressly agree to the contrary, in the event a Player's SPC is extended an additional year in accordance with this subsection, all terms of the SPC, with the exception of Signing Bonuses, but including Paragraph 1 Salary, games played bonuses and Exhibit 5 bonuses, shall be extended; provided, however, that the Player's Paragraph 1 Salary shall be extended in all circumstances.
Due to this circumstance, it's unlikely Hishon will see any games with the Avs this season and his ELC would kick in starting in 2011-12.
You can view the press release of Hishon's signing at the Colorado Avalanche official website.