directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: KHL challenges Filatov signing

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Monday, July 14, 2008

KHL challenges Filatov signing

Here we go. You just knew it would get ugly.

Hockeybuzz's Bill Metzer is reporting the following:

On Friday, Continental Hockey League president Alexander Medvedev said that he believes Salavat Yulaev Ufa's signing of Alexander Radulov and the Columbus Blue Jackets' signing of 2008 first-round pick Nikita Filatov fell beyond the boundry lines of the NHL's verbal agreement with the various European Hockey Federations not to sign contracted players.

However, with the IIHF investigating the Radulov signing and requesting the KHL void Radulov's contract, the KHL has struck back. It has asked the IIHF to investigate Filatov's contractual status with CSKA Moscow.

So here's where things stand: Filatov and Columbus insist the player was a free agent, nothing was or is owed to CSKA and his signing was entirely legal. While the NHL has not made a statement specific to Filatov's situation, it's pretty clear the league believes the signing to have been legal under the terms of NHL rules, the no-poaching understanding and KHL rules.

If the IIHF rules that Filatov's signing was illegal, it will request the NHL to void his deal in lieu of CSKA agreeing to release the player. Otherwise, Filatov faces a ban from playing for Russia at the World Junior Championships. Things will also be extremely messy in getting Filatov cleared to play OHL hockey for Sudbury without an approved transfer. He could also play in the AHL for the Syracuse Crunch and accept a suspension from playing for the Russian national team.

Shades of the Zherdev situation right? This time though Filatov made it crystal clear to anyone who would listen he wanted to come over to North America as soon as possible. Unlike Zherdev who fell out of favor with his Russian team and decided to bolt mid-season.

Filatov is clearly being used as a pawn here. I have yet to hear anything on the Russian kid Phoenix drafted 28th overall in Tikhonov -- in fact Phoenix has even signed him.

So where to from here? I would imagine this thing is now in the NHL's legal departments hands. There is some obvious head-butting going on between the NHL and the KHL and I don't see that slowing down anytime soon.

The real shame in this whole mess is Filatov. The kid is stuck in this middle of this and all he wants to do is come and play in the best league in the world. Quite frankly if he's as dedicated as he says to coming over I'm not sure what can stop him. If the NHL (not IIHF) voids his contract that is probably the only thing but I doubt the threat of not playing in the WJCs will deter him.

This right here is why he fell to 6th overall. If the Jackets can navigate through it and get this kid over by August that will be a major hurdle cleared. If they can't then this picks starts looking a lot riskier. Lots or work and mud sligging to be done before then unfortunately.

Plent of more to come on this story I'm sure. Hey, it will give us plenty of fodder until training camp right?



wizworm said...

I don't get this. Why is it even an issue? Filatov wasn't under any contract to any team (NHL or KHL). Does anyone know why the KHL seems to believe they still own his rights?

Jeremy said...


Too much vodka? Thats the only thing I can think of.....

LTL said...

Wiz - I don't think they have much ground to stand on unless they can somehow prove he's under contract with someone.

I'm sure they are in the process of forging that documentation now.


Anonymous said...

Basically the KHL wants to trade Filatov for Radulov saying "lets just let these two go but after this..."

Filatov could not play in Russia right now without signing some kind of contract because HE DOES NOT HAVE ONE.

Gotta love that Russian drama....

Anonymous said...

A risky pick? I don't agree. It would be a longshot for him to make the team, certainly he can make the team, he has the talent, but to ask a young man to make this leap is a longshot. Either way, he is still Jacket property ( sorry Sepp Blatter) and will remain so for the foreseeable future. If he makes it here this year, well and good, if not, he will be with the team ASAP. Not much to worry about, IMO. Filatov is in the Jacket family, the question is when he will get to play

LTL said...

I don't mean "risky" in the sense that he doesn't have the talent or won't eventually be a Blue Jacket.

I mean "risky" due to all this Russian drama that comes with a high profile pick.

Once we get him over I'll feel alot better about this situation.


wizworm said...

I did some digging on the net into Filatov's status and none of it is consistent, which I guess is the reason the Russians are making a big stink of this.

Filatov, his agent and the NHL consider him to be a free agent. Medvedev even agreed with this at one point saying in a press conference that Filatov is not under contract with any KHL team. But in the same article, Medvedev goes on to say that under Russian law his KHL team still owns his rights because he never negotiated an “exit fee” or something. And I’ve read on other sites that Medvedev and the KHL are now saying that Filatov still has 1 year left on his current contract.

The real situation probably won’t become clear until the IIHF finishes its investigation and all the facts come to light. But I have to agree with LTL here… We’ll probably never know the real truth because the Russians will have forged their own documents to prove whatever they want to prove.

The whole “exit fee” thing sounds like extortion to me. “You can leave and play in NHL but first you must pay us”.

Erik said...


You are correct, it sounds like there is no legal leg to stand on for the Russians. However they are claiming there is an "exit fee" because of the training and development they put into this youngster with the hope he would play in the Russian league. They (KHL) make it sound like there is a "development" fee for any club outside Russia to pick up/draft a Russian trained Player...

I see it as desperation to make the Russian pro league a success so they are clamping on to anyone and throwing big money at Russians in the NHL... such as Svitov and Radulov...

I just hope the NHL and international hockey federation put the KHL in it's place..


markislander said...

Thats why i say let them all go back so we dont have to deal with this crap,It will always be a problem.

Anonymous said...

The NHL does not allow a signing to go throrugh unless it meets with their approval. When the jackets announced the signing of Filitov, it was with complete approval of the NHL. The NHL would never have allowed the jackets to announce the signing of this player without 100% approval form the NHL.

In this delicate issue, the NHL wanted to make absolute sure that Filitov was properly signed with no if and's or buts. This is purely a money grab by the KHL.

Can they do it? No, but they are certainly going to try--they don't want to lose the player for nothing. They know he doesn't have a contract, they are simply trying to get money for developing him.

Crazy bastards.