Last summer, they reeled in notables like Jaromir Jagr and Alexander Radulov, and the list has kept growing this off-season. Sergei Fedorov, Niclas Havelid, Viktor Kozlov, and Richard Zednik announced that they were going to the KHL early on in the summer. Those four were followed by Radek Bonk, Martin Gerber, Karri Ramo, and Mikael Tellqvist… and now Hudler and Zubov yesterday. And with Euros such as Afinogenov, Lang, and Sykora still on the market, who knows when this exodus will stop!
Some other notable ex-NHL players that have made their way to the KHL are:
Bryan Berard, Sergei Brylin, Stanislav Chistov, Kevin Dallman, Nils Ekman, Robert Esche, Niko Kapanen, Darius Kasparaitis, Alexander Korolyuk, Alexsey Morozov, Andrei Nikolishin, Karel Rachunek, Chris Simon, Jozef Stumpel, Oleg Tverdovsky, Josef Vasicek, Vitaly Vishnevski, and Andrei Zyuzin.
And when you look ahead to next off-season… AKA: “The Summer of Hell”… the KHL could be licking its chops. With the NHL’s salary cap going down next summer, more players left without a contract here could be making their way across the Pacific. Scanning next year’s UFA list, players such as Sergei Gonchar, Slava Kozlov, and Alexander Frolov could follow this trend.
By the looks of it, the KHL is not going away anytime soon. The teams over there are able to offer more money to players than NHL teams. I know the NHL execs don’t like it… but they’re going to have put up with it. You have to wonder if this league will gradually get big enough to actually compete with the NHL. They have 24 teams in the KHL, and it seems to be growing more and more popular with Russian hockey players. Should Columbus be worried that Nikita Filatov could opt to stay in Russia?? How 'bout Dmitri Kulikov and the Panthers??
Uh oh… Gary Bettman has competition to deal with! Hey… at least there are more teams Mike Sillinger could play for if 30 isn’t enough.