With the NHL lumbering toward another lockout, the question for players becomes whether or not they'll head overseas to both earn a paycheck and keep in game shape by playing in Russia's KHL or the Swedish Elite League (although the SEL has, for now, ruled out allowing players to come over for short-term work). Yesterday, the KHL rolled out a number of criteria describing the circumstances under which NHL players can come over to their league.
The amendment will cover players with existing NHL contracts, excluding those with two-way NHL contracts who are consigned by their clubs to lower league teams for the duration of the lockout.
KHL Hockey Operations Vice-President Vladimir Shalaev outlined the main points of the amendment:
"Our clubs have been granted the opportunity to enter into contracts and place on their main rosters no more than three NHL players, and the previously established limit of 25 players per team may be exceeded by the addition of these players. For Russian clubs, only one of the three NHL players may be a foreigner, and this player must meet one of the following criteria set down to ensure that only top-level foreign players come to play in the Kontinental Hockey League."
Criteria for foreign players signed from NHL:
- Has played no fewer than 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons;
- Has experience of playing in the KHL;
- Represented his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympics;
- Is a Stanley Cup winner, a Stanley Cup finalist, or a winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the National Hockey League at the close of the season.
KHL clubs based in countries other than Russia may sign more than one foreign player among the maximum three NHL players. Moreover, the above criteria for foreign players will not apply to KHL clubs based outside Russia.
So when we look at the main portion of the Predators roster (including unsigned RFA Jon "Silkie" Blum), we get the following. Those shaded in yellow are not eligible for KHL play:
|Forwards||>=150 GP last 3 seasons||Experience in KHL||Played last 2 WC, WJC or Olympics||SC winner/finalist, trophy winner|
So there you have it - almost the entire roster is eligible to go. There are a few guys who came close, having played in the Junior World Championships longer than 2 years ago (like Halischuk). In addition, there are three guys on two-way contracts who could be assigned by the Predators to Milwaukee, which would rule them out for the KHL (Craig Smith, Ryan Ellis & Roman Josi).
So what do you think, might any of these guys hop over the pond if things drag out?