by PuckStopsHere on 12/28/10 at 04:26 PM ET
The KHL is having a hard time keeping their NHL proven talent this season. Evgeni Nabokov and Marek Svatos are two proven NHL talents who have left the league this season. I have argued that Nabokov is unlikely to return to the NHL this season because he cannot clear re-entry waivers for the team that signs him. Every player who plays in a major European hockey league must clear waivers to re-enter the NHL in the same season. A high calibre player returning to the NHL would almost certainly be claimed and the team that signed him in the first place would not get his services. This team would have effectively signed the player for another team, which is a waste of time and effort.
The test case for this theory is Marek Svatos, who was signed by the St Louis Blues.
Svatos scored only eight points in nineteen KHL games with Avangard Omsk before getting his release. He is a 28 year old player, who should still be in his prime, who has 164 points in 316 career NHL games. His career best of 50 points in 61 games came as a rookie in 2005/06. He has been a reliable source of 30 plus points each season, while injuries have kept him from playing a full season, however last year was a bit of a disaster as he only potted 11 points. Nevertheless, he is an interesting prospect as a free agent signee. He has some offensive potential and could be a top six forward. As a result, I gave him a spot on last summer’s all UFA team.
St Louis is taking a chance on him. He signed a one year two way deal worth $800,000 in the NHL. This makes him affordable to almost any team. I would be surprised if some team does not claim him on waivers. If they do, it clearly shows there is not point pursuing Nabokov this season. If nobody claims him, then maybe Nabokov is worth a look.
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