A weird development emerged Friday afternoon, with a bunch of the most prominent hockey agents active with Russian players being basically banned from Russia and the KHL:
The Russian Hockey Federation has just put out a list of agents who they say are not accredited to work in Russia with professional teams/players - the list includes Paul Theofanos, Dan Milstein, and Mark Gandler among many others https://t.co/Fc5AV5ZC31— Gillian Kemmerer (@gilliankemmerer) May 1, 2020
This has been brewing since February when KHL and FHR had a meeting about cracking down more on "unaccredited" agents poaching talent... as before was just paltry fines for clubs and players.— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) May 1, 2020
The speculation is that this has to do with more Russian players leaving for North America — and not just for NHL contracts like Nikita Zaitsev, Ilya Mikheyev or Alexander Barabanov. There are an increasing number of Russian players who leave for junior leagues in North America. The Toronto Maple Leafs and other NHL teams have taken advantage of both free agent Russians as well as drafting the ones playing in North American junior leagues in recent years.
Andrei Svechnikov, Daniil Gushchin, Yan Kuznetsov, Mikhail Abramov, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Ivan Miroshnichenko, etc. All of them left to play in the CHL, NCAA or even USHL to develop as pre-draft eligible prospects in North America so they have more exposure for NHL scouts. Some of them are going to the USHL first, and then either the NCAA or moving to the CHL. A weird path to take, but they’re doing it. Muskegon in the USHL has had a few prominent Russian prospects come through their doors recently.
It makes sense that Russia wouldn’t like this. They already held it against players who left for North America by leaving them off of their Team Russia roster for international tournaments. But how can they do that if more and more of their top prospects leave? Banning the agents from Russia to try and — I am guessing here — prevent their prospects from talking with agents who can help them facilitate their move to North America seems weird, but there you go.
I guess it’s similar to players like Igor Ozhiganov allegedly having his ice time cut way down when it was all but confirmed a full season ahead of time that he was going to sign with the Leafs.
I’ve heard word that MLSE is exploring the idea of purchasing a KHL team in Finland to maintain their steady stream of KHL prospects and free agents to their NHL team.
ONTO THE LINKS
KHL May Day Rumour Roundup | by Katya
Toronto Maple Leafs Suspended-Season Thoughts, Part 2: The Coaching Change and the Future in Net | by Anthony Petrielli at MLHS
‘He’s different’: Why the Leafs don’t have another prospect like Justin Brazeau | by Joshua Kloke at The Athletic
AROUND THE HOCKEY WORLD
The big thing that came out late last night was a memo from the NHL about a proposed draft lottery that apparently most teams and fans hate.
Updated with further reaction and context: NHL makes its case for a June draft https://t.co/kpMrbfpkOE— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 2, 2020
Four arena plan remains in play and so does going straight to playoffs | by Larry Brooks at the NY Post
Edmonton’s bid to be hub city is ‘full steam ahead’ and ‘looking fairly optimistic’ | by Ryan Rishaug at TSN
31 Thoughts: Best-case scenario for resumption of NHL season | by Elliot Friedman at Sportsnet
This is applicable to the discussion about the NHL returning:
ESPN talked to dozens of medical experts, NBA teams, league officials, referees, hotels & TV executives to piece together what it would take to return to play. It's a huge undertaking that can't get off the ground right now (w/@TimBontemps): https://t.co/tvjcElFMHe— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) May 1, 2020
Some free agent signings around the world:
Artem Zub signed a one-year, entry-level contract with the Senators on Friday. The defenseman tied for the KHL lead in plus-minus and tied for second in goals at the position.https://t.co/nM8iQCsbwX— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) May 1, 2020
Metallurg Magnitogorsk sign new two-year contracts with D Artyom Minulin and F Nikolai Kulemin. https://t.co/qKXMn2mT6S— Patrick C (@ChunkletsHockey) May 1, 2020
Filed under: But Why?