I just received an off the record tip via email. According to it, Jared Cowen will play make his regular season NHL debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning. God rumours are fun!
There has been some expressed concern that a year could be burned off Cowen's contract if he does play tomorrow. As far as I can tell, it can't based off of what I've read off of NHLSCAP.com:
A player’s ELC may be extended for three reasons:
1. If a player age 18 or 19 signs an SPC and does not play at least ten (10) NHL games in the first season, his contract will extend for one (1) year.
2. If a player age 18 signs an SPC and his contract is extended as above, and in the 2nd year does not play at least ten (10) NHL games, his contract will extend for one (1) additional year.
3. If a player fails to give his playing services called for under his SPC [except as a result of injury, illness, or disability] while in the Entry-Level System, his contract will extended while he fails to offer those services.
It's important to note that under the first stipulation by definition, NHL games isn't exclusive to the regular season. More than 10 games accrued during the regular season and playoffs will burn a year off of Jared Cowen's entry-level contract.