The National Hockey League is very unique in that even after many first year players make the team roster and compete in their first NHL game, they still must prove their worth to the team.
The existence of “nine game tryout contracts” in the NHL is the reasoning behind this. Unlike most other professional sports leagues in North America, the NHL allows teams to send first year players back to their junior clubs as long as the player has not played 10 or more games in the NHL. The article linked below from TSN takes a look at this phenomenon. The rule makes it so the first games of a player’s first season are incredibly important in deciding how the rest of the year goes. Currently, young phonems like Dylan Strome of the Arizona Coyotes and Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames are facing this rule, trying to prove their worth to their respective clubs before the nine games are up. This rule certainly puts the power in the hands of the franchise, allowing them to test run their young players before committing them to their organization for the entire season. For young players, the only thing to do in these situations is to try and be the best hockey player they can and see what happens.