According to Randy from AdmiralsZone.com in the comments, the AHL and PHPA have ratified the sixth veteran rule . Randy also clarifies the rule noting the 6th veteran will have less than 320 games of experience, not greater than. Karl Stewart and Bryce Lampman would both fit in under this sixth veteran rule.
Thanks to everyone for being patient with me while I get schooled up on these rules.
With the flurry of free agent signings and trades aimed toward stocking up the Norfolk Admirals roster over the last week, I think we've all had some questions about how the Lightning/Admirals will navigate around the AHL's veteran rule. I, admittedly, still didn't know the ins and outs of the rule as early as about a week ago. Thankfully, several of the Admirals fans have pointed out some of the intricacies of the rules and how the Admirals are indeed going to be able ice all this new talent they've accumlated recently.
First, here is how the rule was in effect last season. According to TheAHL.com , teams were allowed to use up to five players with 260 or more games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level at the start of the season. Goaltenders are exempt from the veteran rule. ECHL games do not count against the veteran rule.
For this season, according to rumors, the AHL/PHPA are expected to expand the AHL's veteran rule to include a sixth veteran with less than 320 games of experience at the IHL/AHL/NHL or European elite league level.
So where do the Lightning's recent signings fall in terms of games played? The following players will count against the Lightning's six veteran slots:
Craig MacDonald, 633 games played
Norm Milley, 522 games played
Mathieu Darche, 516 games played
Kyle Wanvig, 356 games played
Karl Stewart, 280 games played
Bryce Lampman, 268 games played
The following players will NOT count against the Lightning's veteran slots:
Jay Leach, 243 games played
David Schneider, 184 games played
Bottom line: what this means is that Claude Loiselle and the Lightning/Admirals organization should be able to ice every single player they've acquired over the past month on a nightly basis so long as the AHL and PHPA do follow through and expand the veteran rule.
Special thanks to the AdmiralsZone message board for talking me through the finer points of the rules.