Throughout the past years, there has always been around 10 to 15 KHL players signing with NHL teams at free agency. There has already been several players who have signed from the KHL, like Artyom Zub (OTT), Alex Barabanov (TOR) and Arsen Khisamutdinov (MTL) to name a couple. There still are a lot of players who are getting offers. It isn’t unrealistic to assume the amount of players transferring will increase this year.
This season, the KHL has implemented a salary cap to try to decrease the skill gap between big and small market teams. This new system will prevent clubs from overpaying players. In my opinion this is the major reason for the growing interest for the NHL and AHL.
Obviously this isn’t a great situation for the Russian league. It was announced yesterday that the league’s leading defenceman point leader, Mikko Lehtonen, has opted out of his contract and is looking to sign in the NHL. The loss of their top talent could result in loss of revenue.
It has become increasingly popular to take the many hockey routes offered in North America. Seeing guys like Nikita Alexandrov, Yan Kuznetsov, Mikhail Abramov and Daniil Gushchin have success will entice other skaters to follow in their footsteps. Ivan Miroshnichenko, a top Russian prospect for the 2022 entry draft, recently announced he was committing to the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL for the 2020-21 season.
Russia has tried to prevent this in the past by not including these players on their international rosters. Yesterday the KHL decided to strike back against the players leaving by preventing eleven top player agents from negotiating KHL contracts. This is all in an effort to keep local talent in their league.
This is what they had to say: “Please note that such representatives as Paul Theofanos, Dan Milstein, Mark Gandler, Robert Shpalenka, Jiri Gamal, Vladimir Gudachek, Vladimir Vuytek, Juho Sintonen, Denis Loginov, Vadim Kormilitsyn, Valery Zatsepin do not have FHR accreditation for the implementation of activities for the employment of athletes in professional hockey clubs, and working with them is prohibited.”
These agents represent a lot of amazing Russian talent. The most notables are Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
We will have to wait to see how this move impacts the transfer from european to north american hockey.
Picture source : https://www.theathletic.com
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