A big hockey story over the summer was the creation of the Russian Continental League (KHL) and the growing fight over players. The most prominent dispute right now involves former Predator Alexander Radulov. The NHL has been hopping mad over the Radulov signing which I believe may not represent a trend. I still believe the KHL is most interested in repatriating Russian players and not necessarily competing with the NHL.One trend being largely overlooked is that some NHL teams may use the KHL to dump players that are no longer interested in. We’ve already seen a number of players at the end of their career head overseas because no one showed interest in the NHL – John Grahame, Chris Simon, Wade Dubielewicz, Karel Pilar, Ray Emery, Jaromir Jagr. Not too many well known names. But as James Mirtle points out, the NHL is more than happy to get rid of the bad contracts that don't fit into their plans by sending them to the KHL. The New Jersey Devils sent Vitaly Vishnevski to play with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the KHL. He was a defenceman for the Devils who signed a three year contract in 2007 at $1.8 million per year and did not fit into Devils plans. Devils do not pay any money for the buyout. This is another loophole in the salary cap discovered by Lou Lamoreillo.
The Calgary Flames would like to do the same. They have Marcus Nilson on their roster due to make $1 million this season. Calgary would like to get rid of him. They waived him but did not buy him out in June of this year. Nilson is attempting to catch on with the CSKA Moscow Red Army Team. If he does, Calgary will be able to get rid of his salary from their books entirely. Otherwise, he would have to be placed on an AHL team and they would have to pay him instead of letting the Russians do it.
Too bad the Maple Leafs couldn’t have gotten Andrew Raycroft to head over to Russia. It would have saved them a buyout.