Author: Jason Brough


NHL-KHL fail to reach player-transfer deal


From Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston:

Players under contract to KHL teams will be unable to make the jump to the NHL for at least another year.

The leagues recently held discussions about expanding their transfer agreement to look more like those the NHL has with other European federations, but couldn’t reach a new deal. Instead, they’ve extended their pre-existing memorandum of understanding through June 2016.

Essentially, the NHL and KHL are vowing to continue respecting each others’ contracts.

It was reported earlier in the month that a transfer agreement was close. As we explained in the post:

The difference is that a transfer agreement would create a system where there could be fees per player that switches leagues. Right now the memorandum of understanding only states that the two leagues have to respect each others contracts. So, for example, Ilya Kovalchuk had to get his NHL contract voided before he could go to the KHL.

As you may have heard, the KHL is in a tough spot these days. For any free agent considering signing over there, stories about players not getting paid have to give them pause.

Moreover, the KHL has to be worried about the NHL potentially raiding its talent — something that would be easier with a transfer agreement in place.

“Ultimately, the KHL wasn’t interested in a player transfer agreement,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Day told Sportsnet.

Regime change complete: Canucks fire assistant GMs Gilman and Henning

Montreal Canadiens v Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks announced today that assistant GMs Laurence Gilman and Lorne Henning, as well as director of player personnel Eric Crawford, have been relieved of their duties.

“On behalf of our entire organization I would like to sincerely thank Laurence, Lorne and Eric for their commitment and dedication to the Vancouver Canucks,” said club president Trevor Linden in a statement. “They have been important members of our staff for a long time and made significant contributions to the success of this team. Further still, they are great people and respected members of the hockey community.”

Gilman and Henning were hired together in 2008 to work under then-new GM Mike Gillis.

Gilman was an especially popular and prominent figure during his time with the club. Best known as the Canucks’ “capologist,” he was kept on when Gillis was fired and replaced with Jim Benning.

But after a season of transition, the new regime — Linden, Benning, and VP of player personnel John Weisbrod — is on its own now, for better or worse.

“We have made some difficult decisions to our roster and staff recently after a thorough review of the team,” said Linden. “These are not easy decisions, nor were they taken lightly. But they’re important as we transition this team and build for the future.”

Related: Gilman believes he’s qualified to be Canucks GM

Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin?

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets

Alex Semin isn’t the only NHLer who’s been accused of wasting his God-given talent.

Two others — Phil Kessel and Zack Kassian — were traded yesterday. The latter vowed today to figure out in Montreal.

But Semin remains unsigned. Earlier this week, he was bought out by the Hurricanes, whose GM proceeded to say of the 31-year-old winger: “He did not have that high compete level, for whatever reason.”

He didn’t score many goals either. Just six of them in 57 games last season, while seeing his ice time fall to an average of 15:55, the lowest since his rookie campaign over a decade ago.

In 2009-10, Semin scored 40 goals for the Capitals. He has 238 tallies in 638 career NHL games.

Hence, his agent’s claim that there was immediate interest in his client.

For a cheap, short-term prove-it deal, signing Semin has the potential to pay off.

Maybe he joins a contending team, unlike Carolina, and rediscovers his enthusiasm.

Maybe he has a little more puck luck. His shooting percentage dipped to 6.5 percent last season, whereas his career rate is almost double that (12.8).

Maybe he’s a complete bust and at least he was cheap.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are still looking for a winger. Imagine Semin and Phil Kessel on the same team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin?

The Florida Panthers could use a scoring winger, though there may be a concern about Semin’s attitude around all those talented young players.

The Devils need to score more.

Any other teams come to mind?