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Washington’s Radulov

Alexander Radulov has returned to the NHL.  He had abandoned the Nashville Predators during his entry level contract to play in the KHL.  After the conclusion of the KHL season the NHL bended their rules to let Radulov return.  They allowed him to return without being eligible for re-entry waivers and they allowed the handful of games he plays at the end of this season to count for an entire year thus ending his entry level deal.  Without these concessions, Radulov would not be back in the NHL.

The problem is entry level deals keep top players from being paid as much as the market would otherwise allow them to command.  Some players, particularly Russians, can command this money in the KHL.  This keeps a few players out of the league.  One such player is Evgeni Kuznetsov who was drafted by the Washington Capitals with their 2010 first round draft pick.

Kuznetsov was named the MVP of the 2012 World Junior Championships.  In that tournament he looked to be too good a player to be there.  He is clearly an NHL capable talent.  If he was playing in North America he would be in the NHL and thus not have been available for the World Championships.  He was the 16th highest scorer in the KHL this season at age 19.  Nobody younger than him came close to outscoring him.  He is a case of a player who would make more money playing in the KHL than he could in the NHL on an entry level deal.  As a result of this, Kuznetsov is likely to stay in the KHL and Washington will lose his rights and be left with a compensatory pick in his place.

The KHL has an advantage over the NHL in terms of what they can pay their entry level players.  Star players will be higher paid in the KHL than in an NHL entry level deal.  In order to get around this problem with Alexander Radulov the NHL bent its rules.  Will it have to do the same to get Kuznetsov into the league?

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Comments

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I think the Caps keep his rights even if they don’t sign him due to the fact there is no transfer agreement with Russia.

Posted by Puck LA on 03/31/12 at 02:39 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Teams have two years to sign a player they draft or they lose his rights.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/31/12 at 02:53 PM ET

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Correct me if I am wrong here, but wasn’t Kuznetsov supposed to go much higher in the draft, but because of the situation with the KHL, many GM’s passed on him and went with a less talented, but surer bet.  Because of this, i am not feeling much empathy for the Caps here.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/31/12 at 05:16 PM ET

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“Teams have two years to sign a player they draft or they lose his rights.”

Again, this is not true with respect to Russian players.

Posted by Puck LA on 03/31/12 at 07:09 PM ET

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See, e.g., Igor Makarov.  Not signed by Hawks until four years after he was drafted.

Posted by Puck LA on 03/31/12 at 07:14 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The current CBA changed things so that all drafted players had to be signed within 2 years including those in Europe.  This is why the New York Rangers got a compensatory pick for not signing Alexei Cherepanov when he died.  Igor Makarov was drafted before this rule went into effect.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/31/12 at 07:36 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

After an internet search I cannot find anything that clearly spells things out one way or the other here is the best I can find stating that teams have two years to sign Europeans after the draft.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 03/31/12 at 07:47 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Correct me if I am wrong here, but wasn’t Kuznetsov supposed to go much higher in the draft, but because of the situation with the KHL, many GM’s passed on him and went with a less talented, but surer bet.  Because of this, i am not feeling much empathy for the Caps here.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/31/12 at 04:16 PM ET

Yeah, the stellar leadership of Alexander Ovechkin and Semin was supposed to sway him into coming over and playing for less money.  Shockingly, it’s not seeming to work.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/31/12 at 07:48 PM ET

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As a result of this, Kuznetsov is likely to stay in the KHL and Washington will lose his rights and be left with a compensatory pick in his place.

Kuznetsov later said that he said he’d stay in the interview so they’d stop pestering him. His future is just as unclear as Tarasenko’s.

Posted by Ralph on 04/01/12 at 01:57 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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