The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) could be a place for NHL teams to dump bad contracts in this new salary cap . That could be the case if the Washington Capitals move Micheal Nylander's contract to Avangard Omsk. General Managers who want to free cap space with bad deals could find a reprieve in the Russian league by dumping those players across the ocean. Since there is no deal between the KHL and the NHL other than each league respecting the contracts of the other.
Nylander hasn't lived up to the hype in Washington and he has spent a majority of the season in the dog house under Bruce Boudreau's aggressive forechecking style. That has left the crafty centerman off the ice but still pulling a hefty pay check of $5.5 million for the 09/10 season. The contract drops however in 10/11 season to $3 million.
Apparently now, there is a deal in the works between the Avangard and the Capitals that could relieve the Caps of Nylander and give the Jaromir Jagr his assist man back. It is a deal that could be a ripple in the water that leads to a hurricane of contracts that are dumped a sea away. NHL teams that have dead weight could cut it away to the KHL instead of flopping around with it in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Both leagues had agreed to respect each others' contracts. That was put to the test earlier in the year when the Nashville Predators lost a defenseman to the KHL and went to court to get Alexander Radulov back in a Preds jersey.
"Trust me, if we are working on it, that means there is a way," Anatoli Bardin told Sovetsky Sports in a recent interview about getting Nylander to play for a KHL team. Bardin is Omsk region govener's hockey advisor and a former President of Omsk. "We are still working on it. When we have some concrete information, [the media] will be the first to know."
The New York Rangers have done something similar, allowing Darius Kasparatis to play for the KHL after they waived him. But the Rangers didn't get anything in return for the defenseman except for freed up salary cap space.
If a deal is brokered between the Capitals and Avangard, could that mean an exchange of players is possible? Could the KHL be the new AHL in a way? This could also be a legal minefield if there is no deal brokered between the two leagues. One thing is for sure, with a salary cap that may be lowered for next season, teams will be more creative in dealing with heavy and mid level contracts.