Sportsnet’s Eric Engels provided a meaty update regarding Vadim Shipachyov and the Vegas Golden Knights, and it seems like the only clear part right now is that the 30-year-old is back in Russia, according to his agent. (Reports indicated that he had made that choice a few days ago.)
From there, things remain fuzzy.
As Engels notes, there are two ways Shipachyov and the Golden Knights can handle getting rid of his contract: “The Ship” can retire (allowing Vegas to retain his rights at the NHL level) or VGK can terminate his contract.
Shipachyov wants the Golden Knights to terminate his contract, but that’s where things would get interesting: to do so, he would have to go on unconditional waivers for 24 hours. The plot could conceivably thicken from there, though that step hasn’t been taken just yet:
So, if an NHL team theoretically claimed Shipachyov, they’d get him … and his two-year, $9 million contract, with a troubling caveat for Vegas: they would still be responsible for his $2M signing bonus.
Engels reports that Golden Knights GM George McPhee is hoping to get word from the 30 other NHL teams that they wouldn’t claim Shipachyov if he went on unconditional waivers. For whatever it’s worth, Vegas allowed “The Ship” to find a way to be shipped out of town via a trade, and no team would bite. Of course, in this scenario, a team wouldn’t need to give up an asset to get him.
His agent Petr Svoboda told Engels that Shipachyov is willing to pay back most of his signing bonus:
Should the contract termination process proceed without Shipachyov being claimed, Svoboda says Shipachyov will repay Vegas all but $86,000 of the signing bonus (the pro-rated amount based on the amount of games the Golden Knights played prior to the suspension as mandated by the CBA).
Elliotte Friedman, also of Sportsnet, reported that Shipachyov would be willing to do so, as well.
What a mess, right?
Golden Knights deserve some blame in this
Some might be inclined to put a lot of this on Shipachyov, but the Golden Knights should absorb a significant portion of the blame for what’s happened.
With a glut of defensemen and other factors involved, the former KHL standout had to wait until Oct. 15 to make his debut. That might not sound so bad, yet it put a strain on things, and remember that he already waited a long time for a shot, being that he’s 30.
Shipachyov responded by scoring a goal in his debut, which may ultimately stand as his only point at the NHL level.
Even so, he barely got a chance to make a mark. He averaged a mere 10:35 of ice time per game in the three contests he suited up for the Golden Knights.
Now, look, sometimes things just don’t work out. The Golden Knights have been off to a mostly hot start, and while they own some of the mistakes in this process, their main goals are to win and build for the future.
Either way, there could be some closer coming soon, although you can see that the scenario is still (fittingly?) a little complicated.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.