Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Gambling In The KHL

As much as it interests me, the NHL and AHL Playoffs have been great thus far. However, there is still other news going on in the hockey world, and these stories from Russia have barely been touched by the North American blogosphere. Just as Avangard Omsk gambled and signed Jaromir Jagr to play for them, the KHL had their Entry Draft yesterday, and there were some interesting developments from that draft. Players that are 17 years-old and older can be drafted in the KHL. The NHL, on the other hand, waits until players are 18. And with some older players available, there were some interesting moves made by the teams in the KHL. Let's take a look.

  • The top skater, according to North American standards, is John Tavares. Interestingly, no KHL team selected John Tavares in the KHL Draft, making him essentially a free agent if he chose to sign in Russia. However, it is highly unlikely that he will spend any time in Russia for KHL action.
  • Second-overall skater, Victor Hedman, was selected. He went 83rd overall to Moscow Spartak in the fouther round. Like Tavares above, it is highly unlikely that he will end up in Moscow for the season.
  • Swedish star Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson was selected 19th overall by Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in the first round. Again, chances are extremely slim he chooses the KHL over the NHL.
  • With the fifth-overall pick, HC MVD refused their selection. I have never seen a team refuse to select a player in an entry draft, especially when there are a large number of extremely talented players on the board at the #5 position. However, just to throw another curveball at me, Avangard Omsk refused the seventh-overall pick as well. Why???
  • Atlant Mytishchi selected current Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Jiri Tlusty with the 43rd-overall pick in the second round. If Toronto doesn't use Tlusty this season, there's a chance he could jump over to the KHL for some serious playing time.
  • Zach Kassian, star of the OHL's Peterborough Petes, was selected 56th overall in the third round by Moscow Dynamo. Chances of him heading to Mother Russia? Nil.
  • Atlant Mytishchi went out and selected another future NHL player when they drafted goaltender Jhonas Enroth with the 66th pick in the third round. With Buffalo grooming Enroth to be the next goaltender to lead their team, I'd say the chances of him appearing in an Atlant jersey are zero.
  • Taylor Hall, the Windsor Spitfires' star and potential 2009 NHL first overall pick, was chosen 89th overall by Ak Bars Kazan in the fourth round. The KHL allows for 17 year-olds to be drafted, so Hall could potentially play professional hockey in Russia next year. The reality of this situation is that he won't. Ever.
  • For full details of all the draft picks in the KHL draft, please click here. Again, I find it hard to believe that some teams refused their draft selections, and there were several instances of this happening.
  • In other KHL news, the league's Board of Governors is considering the suspension of two franchises after they failed to provide adequate disclosure on their financial situations. Both Khimik Voskresensk and Vityaz Chekhov are in arrears with player salaries this season, and they have failed to provide the documentation showing how they would continue to be financially stable for the 2009-10 KHL season. Because of their current economic situations, neither team was permitted to draft players in the KHL Draft. More info on this one as it breaks.
  • The league will expand by one team next season as Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg applied for entry into the KHL, and received the Board of Governors' approval. With their inclusion, they were permitted into the KHL Draft, and they picked 23rd overall.
Pittsburgh won tonight, and Manitoba won tonight. Pittsburgh is still down 2-1, but the Moose and Bears are even at one game apiece. In the ECHL, the South Carolina Stingrays lead the Alaska Aces 3-2 in their series with Game Six scheduled for Thursday night in Anchorage. Lots of playoff action happening around North America, so get yourself to a rink!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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