Thursday, July 16, 2009

Evgeni Dadonov and North America

While we wait for news on a now-refuted Tanguay-to-the-Panthers rumour, there's a little bit of a development with the NHL/KHL contract situations affecting a couple of players, most notably, Detroit's Jiri Hudler - but the one most concerning the Panthers: Evgeni Dadonov.

The main piece in this is of course Detroit's Jiri Hudler signing over in the KHL for next season. Players make the jump quite often these days, but Hudler is a restricted free agent that had filed for salary arbitration prior to signing.

It was then contested by the league that Hudler, in filing for arbitration, had committed to the NHL as a ruling would then essentially put Detroit in the driver's seat for a moment: either accept the contract awarded or walk away and lose Hudler entirely as an unrestricted free agent allowing him the freedom to sign wherever he wants.

So this brings us to today: KHL president Alexander Medvedev agreed that the league will not process Hudler's contract until his arbitration hearing is settled, in keeping with the "gentleman's agreement" in place between the two leagues.

Medvedev went on to cite the Atlanta Thrashers' retraction of a contract offered to Joel Kwiatkowski recently, as Kiwi, a former Panther, was still under contract with Cherepovets in the Continental League.

So, does this bode well for those of us hoping to see Evgeni Dadonov make the switch to North America this season?

It's still quite possible. If the rumours are true and Dadonov has indeed signed with the Panthers, there's not really anything that the KHL can do to stop it. But, they can create a big fuss over the issue and one has to wonder if Florida would then back down.

The KHL wants to protect its assets and Dadonov is a good one. If he chooses to abandon the Russian contract, sanctions would fly and there would undoubtedly be some bitterness (again) between the two leagues. But then, perhaps in such a situation, the league would simply agree to negotiate compensation to release Dadonov from his contract and let the issue die.

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