To expand on Lavender’s post, I thought I would bring up a little situation that is brewing half a world away in the Kontinental Hockey League, which might (also might not) have a huge impact on the future of the NHL/AHL.
The mainly Russian-based KHL is suffering quite a bit right now with the collapse of the ruble, combined with Russia’s economic santions resulting from the Ukraine crisis, all tied into that country’s oil-dominated economy. Many players that went to Russia over the past few years looking for big pay days in the “K” and low taxs are feeling the heat right now as their contracts are now worth about half of what they were this past summer.
— HockeyNightInCanada (@hockeynight) December 18, 2014
Some teams are being rumored to fold up shop during the season (even in the good times very few KHL teams are actually profitable, a situation that never made much sense to me in the first place).
Check out @SlavaMalamud‘s timeline for update on KHL growing crisis…. Safe to say I think we’ll see a smaller KHL next season
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) December 18, 2014
What does this all mean? Well some NHL prospects currently playing Russia, might be on their way over to North America sooner than later. A couple of notables with ties to the Admirals/Predators playing in the KHL right now are defenseman Joonas Järvinen and prospect Vladislav Kamenev, Nashville’s second pick (42nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
From my knowledge Kamenev’s team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, is one of the league’s more stable franchises (they are also the defending KHL Champions, coached by “iron” Mike Keenan), but this situation is certainly something worth keeping abreast of. Usually, Milwaukee or other AHL teams rarely are development ground for Russian players with interest in playing in the NHL. Same goes for a lot of Finns, Swedes and so on, with the obvious exception being Milwaukee.
However, if the financial benefits to playing in the KHL continue to go south, expect a lot of international players to start looking for other playing options.
“Those (foreigners) who want to, can leave” – Kovalchuk on KHLers worried by the league’s troubles.
— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) December 19, 2014
Here are a few more tweets in regards to the ongoing Russian financial/KHL crisis:
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 19, 2014
Jeff Glass, who spoke out about conditions in the KHL yesterday, has been placed on waivers over there. Tough league.
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) December 18, 2014
So Roundtable . . . Any thoughts on the crisis in the KHL? Are there any players currently overseas that you would like to see back in North America?