by PuckStopsHere on 09/19/12 at 07:14 PM ET
With another lockout underway, players are looking for places to play. The NHL wants to keep as many players under its control as possible by placing players on entry level deals in the AHL This will likely give the AHL its best group of players ever to play in one season as they will have Jeff Skinner, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Henrique and others playing in the league. These are players who are already well established an NHL calibre players. Other players who are on entry level deals are European and would rather play in Europe. The most high profile example of this is Nail Yakupov. He was the first pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. A story came out on Puck Daddy that the NHL was stalling Yakupov's transfer back to Russia so he could play with Neftekhmik Nizhnekamsk in the KHL instead of with the Sarnia Sting in the OHL where he has played junior hockey. Though this story overstates the situation, it does show that the International Ice Hockey Federation that files paperwork to allow player transfers is inept.
It takes seven days to ensure that this paperwork is filed and until it is filed Yakupov cannot play in Russia. What do we gain by this delay? Nothing of significance. The player transfers between leagues are intended to prevent a player from leaving a valid contract in one league to go play in another. When Alexander Radulov left the NHL in 2008 to go to the KHL despite a valid contract in Nashville (that concluded last season) the IIHF was powerless to stop it. The KHL then asserted that several transfers to the NHL had valid KHL contracts. In fact the NHL and KHL made an agreement outside the IIHF to respect each other's contracts and to share this information. The IIHF is not needed at all.
Now we have Nail Yakupov ready and willing to play in the KHL and the IIHF slowing things up with slow bureaucracy. It is unnecessary. The IIHF adds no value in player transfers and in this case is making the process worse. They may have a value in organizing international tournaments - though the biggest hockey tournaments (Olympics etc.) would be just fine without an IIHF.
While the story of the NHL delaying Nail Yakupov's transfer to Russia is incorrect, Yakupov's transfer has been delayed by bureaucracy. Who needs that bureaucracy? Why is it there? It appears to add nothing to the process. It should be removed.
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