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Taking a flier: McDavid drafted by KHL club

May 8, 2014, 12:29 PM EDT

Connor McDavid Getty Images

One team decided to get a jump on the Connor McDavid sweepstakes — albeit from across the Atlantic.

Medvescak Zagreb, a Croatian-based team in the KHL, took McDavid in the second round (77th overall) of the 2014 KHL Junior Draft, which was held on Thursday. Zagreb, which last year employed ex-NHLers Barry Brust, Mathieu Carle, Kurtis Foster and Jonathan Cheechoo, made the longshot move relatively early in the draft, using their second pick to secure McDavid’s KHL rights whereas teams in the past have taken similar fliers at much later stages of the process.

In 2013, Vityaz Podolsk took Aaron Ekblad with the fourth-to-last pick in the draft (171st overall). In 2012, Podolsk took Nathan McKinnon 114th overall and in 2011, Salavat Yulaev Ufa took Sean Couturier with the second-to-last overall pick.

McDavid, widely considered to be one of the top two picks at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, is coming off a regular season in which he scored 28 goals and 99 points in 56 games for OHL Erie.


  1. withseidelinn - May 8, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    What a waste of a pick

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 8, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Putin has assured them that Canada and the USA will be under his thumb during McDavid’s prime years, and that he will dismantle the NHL.

  2. urallstupid - May 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    why didnt anyone secure lebron james’ KHL rights in case he wanted to play hockey?

  3. esracerx46 - May 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    You know, if it was all about money….I could see someone doing this.

    • storminator16 - May 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      If a KHL team would pay me more, I would.

  4. djshnooks - May 8, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    So could he go play there this year to play against better competition and get better…then still enter the NHL draft?

    Or would they make him stay there? (I assume they would give him an absurd contract to try and keep him there…but why not offer him one year and see what happens? It really couldn’t hurt, at all.)

    • Mike Halford - May 8, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      He could probably go but, given the lack of formal transfer agreement between the NHL and KHL, it’s probably a grey area he doesn’t want to get anywhere near.

    • storminator16 - May 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Taking the contract aspect out of it: yes, junior aged players undrafted by NHL teams can play in the KHL and still be drafted by a NHL team. Would we see a North American kid ever do this? Would be intriguing if one of them did whether it be KHL or another European/Asian based league.

      • soro17 - May 8, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        I seem to remember a high school basketball player doing this – going to Europe and playing pro for one year instead of going to college. On the contractual stuff, contracts are just words to be agreed on by the parties – obviously a kid like McDavid were he to go wouldn’t sign on for a five-year deal. Also, I think the transfer agreements are between the NHL and member nations and not the KHL, although I would be shocked if there were one with the Croatian hockey authorities. The only Croatians that have played in the NHL are probably from North Burnaby or East Van.

  5. puregreed - May 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Make sense because you never know when the NHL may have an extended lock-out or strike.

  6. c9castine - May 8, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    he could play a year there before his NHL draft….

    but that gets into something i dont evem know enough about. like what would that do for him as a player? hed probably start making big bucks before he even got drafted in the NHL. some weird scenarios there.

    i mean either way pretty clear where this kid is going to end up when hes 18.

  7. 950003cups - May 8, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    It’s a misprint. They really drafted Ronald McDonald in the 2nd round.

  8. hockeyflow33 - May 8, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    It would be interesting to see a draft-eligible player go overseas and play for a $5m+ deal for a few years and come back for an equal-pay type deal.

    I’m probably wrong but if he signs a contract with the KHL, (I know he won’t), before an NHL team owns his rights, I would think his KHL contract takes precedence.

  9. djshnooks - May 8, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Thank you for the feedback.

    My point was exactly WHY it might be beneficial for him…it’s better talent, grown men, as close as it gets to the NHL. It would help him work on his game, rather than just dominate against boys next year.

    The reason I say this was Mikhail Grigorenko. He wasn’t ready for Buffalo, and clearly was too good for juniors…but he couldn’t go to the Amerks in the AHL. The KHL was a thought, but everyone thought they might never see him again.

    Idk, just a thought for conversation sake.

    (I do wanna say…I know around the Olympics and at other times, I have said some controversial stuff on here…and I’m always a jerk to Mike Florio…but nothing is ill-intended. I honestly never meant to offend anyone, and I am ashamed of some things I’ve said, so I apologize. I lost my father not long ago, and the fact he is buried in a Sabres shirt, and how bad they’ve gotten…needless to say, I’m lost. I’ll try to keep my comments more focused on the conversation at hand, with more informed discussion and questions. Thanks for the work you guys do, God bless.)

    • mikedoc315 - May 9, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Hang in there buddy it may take some time to get over the loss of your father but maybe by then the Sabres will be better. You know they can’t get worse or I bet you hope they can’t get any worse. You’ll always have the memories of your father ,it does get easier with time. Hope my Flyers get to see your Sabres in the playoffs soon.

  10. muckleflugga - May 8, 2014 at 6:05 PM


    hang-in their kid, it gets better as memories come alive and take away the hurt

    still, these boards serve a function another poster once declared to be catharsis … everyone is shedding feelings of one kind or another, best directed at an anonymous target

    beats the hell out of guns and knives every time

    you’re cool

  11. djshnooks - May 9, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    Mike and Muckle, thank you guys.

    I have faith that as I rebuild my life, and the Sabres/Bills/City of Buffalo all rebuild their makeup…we’ll all come out alright in the end. God knows we all deserve it here.

    I wish you all nothing but the best.

    Just needed to get that stuff off my chest.

  12. djshnooks - May 10, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    And tonight, my grandma passes away. 😦

    When it rains, it pours.

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