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Columbus Blue Jackets

Risks of drafting Russian prospects

From Tom Reed of the Columbus Dispatch:

“It’s only going to get worse in the minds of (NHL) general managers,” one NHL agent said. “They are going to be more reluctant to take (Russian players) early because they’re not sure if they will be able to come over.”

Weary of seeing their best players flock to the NHL with little compensation, a new breed of deep-pocketed Russian owners is fighting back. Those owners are attempting to keep elite, homegrown talent within the startup Continental Hockey League (KHL) or secure transfer fees similar to international soccer.

KHL president Alexander Medvedev, a billionaire who made his fortune in natural gas, disputes Filatov’s right to leave his club, CSKA Moscow, and join the Blue Jackets without paying a $1.5 million buyout. Never mind that it appears as though Filatov no longer is under contract to CSKA Moscow. It seems Medvedev is intent to raise a fuss over every high-profile selection, and the Russian federation is encouraging other European leagues to stand their ground, as well.

Read the entire article here.

I cannot disagree with Reed. Basically, if you have two prospects with similar talent, and one is from Russia with possible drawbacks such as the ones listed above, then which player would you select? As the transfer situation becomes more aggravating, NHL teams will almost certainly continue to shy away from drafting Russian prospects.