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So, who else could jump from the KHL to NHL?

Jul 9, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Alex Burmistrov AP

This week, two major outlets — Sportsnet and Yahoo! — both detailed how the KHL is less of a threat to the NHL than it’s ever been.

Why? Well, in the last five months alone we’ve seen a number of prolific KHLers hop the pond: Evgeni Kuznetsov and Jori Lehtera finally joined the Caps and Blues, Leo Komarov re-joined the Leafs (followed by Petri Kontiola, who also inked in Toronto) and Jiri Sekac signed with Montreal.

It was a pretty big influx of talent, highlighted by Lehtera — the KHL’s ninth-leading scorer last year — and the reasoning behind the moves, according to Blues GM Doug Armstrong, was simple: These guys wanted to play against the best.

“I think that players all know that the NHL is the best league; it’s got the best players,” Armstrong explained to Sportsnet. “You can make good money in the KHL but if you want to compete against the best you have to be in the NHL.”

With that in mind, what other players could be on their way over to North America in the future? A few suggestions throw your way:

Alex Burmistrov

Still property of the Winnipeg Jets, Burmistrov — 21st in the KHL last year with 38 points — has been the subject of rumors claiming he’s eying a return to North America… but is being held up by the remaining time on his contract with Ak Bars Kazan.

From the Winnipeg Sun’s report at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft:

There were some rumblings that Alex Burmistrov’s name was in play, but a source said the fact it was unclear if he could get out of his KHL contract with Ak Bars Kazan is a stumbling block to a potential deal.

Still only 22 years old, Burmistrov already has a ton of NHL experience (194 games; he debuted shortly after being the eighth overall pick in 2010) and would probably slide back into an NHL lineup easily, should he choose to return. The Jets retain his North American rights but it’s safe to assume a trade might be in order after his falling out with the club (granted, a percentage of his beef stemmed from a bad relationship with ex-head coach Claude Noel.)

Sakari Salminen

A bit of a late bloomer, Salminen, 26, spent the early parts of his professional career with Assat of the SM-liiga before making the leap with KalPa in 2010-11. He saw his goal totals climb from 12 to 24 to 26 before KHL club Torpedo jumped in with a contract offer — last year, his first in the KHL, Salminen had a very productive campaign by 48 points in 54 games, sixth-most in the league.

Given all the interest in Finnish players like Kontiola, Komarov and Lehtera following the Sochi Olympics (where they won bronze), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Salminen — who replaced Valtteri Filppula on the roster for Sochi — get some interest as well.

Per Elite Prospects, Salminen is under contract with Torpedo through ’14-15.

Ilya Kovalchuk

Rumors of a Kovalchuk return to the NHL were so prevalent this summer that Randy Miller of wrote an entire piece rebuking the rumblings:

Here’s what NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had to say last summer after Kovalchuk retired from the Devils with 12 years and $77 million on his contract, and then went home to Russia and signed a four-year contract with the Kontinental Hockey League:

1. Unless Kovalchuk sits out a full season of professional hockey anywhere in the world, he cannot return to the NHL without consent from all 30 franchises until 2018-19.

2. If Kovalchuk sits out a full season of pro hockey, he can only return with the Devils’ consent until 2018-19.

3. Beginning in 2018-19, Kovalchuk will be 35, removed from the league’s voluntary retirement list and free to sign with any NHL team as a free agent.

In an email to the New York Post, Daly wrote Kovalchuk returning to the NHL “would require unanimous consent at any point at which the player tries to return to the League without having been out of professional hockey [anywhere in the world] for a full calendar year. Once he sits out for a full calendar year, he can only come back with the Devils’ consent.”

So, Kovalchuk playing for the 2014-15 Devils seems impossible because there is no chance all 30 teams give consent.

This one seems doubtful unless Kovalchuk is willing to come back at the start of the ’18 season. You can put it on the backburner, though!

Dustin Boyd

Of all the North American ex-NHLers currently plying their trade in Russia, Boyd has perhaps the most complete resume (220 games) and youth (27 years old) to make a comeback. He had a solid year for Barys Astana in ’13-14, scoring 38 points in 49 games, and also has a couple of quality NHL seasons on his resume — specifically, an 11-goal, 22-point effort with Calgary in 2008-09.

Boyd is under contract with Barys Astana until the end of 2015, per reports.

  1. snipedanglecelly13 - Jul 9, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    No way we will ever see kovi in the nhl again, and I don’t have a problem with that. He can stay in Russia all he wants

  2. tross16 - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

    As a devils fan I would be both happy and sad if kovy were to come back because there is no arguing he is a hell of a player but e is an egotistical asshole

  3. ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    Sakari Salminen sounds like a delicious asian dish.

  4. 19to77 - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    Kovi got what he wanted from the NHL and went home once he was satisfied. He played his way into two big contracts from the NHL and by all accounts his salary in the KHL is outright friggin’ ridiculous, at least $10m per year. The Cup was never a must-win for him, so what’s he missing from the NHL that he’s not getting in Russia? They pay him nearly twice as much to play at home and live that much closer to his extended family. Point is, there’s no reason at all to expect to see Kovi in the NHL again. Nothing in it for him unless the KHL stops paying better. Which it won’t.

  5. President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Yeah lets water down and already diluted NHL with more Euro trash

    • ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      you keep proving yourself to be a horrible human being. weird, a fan of the game calling a player trash because of where he’s from, despite the fact that said fan has never once been even a flicker in a GM’s mind.

      • President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        and you continue to preach your rainbow, liberated and uninteresting drivel onto my posts …. go away already fruitcake

      • ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 3:56 PM

        die off already, clown.

      • President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        you’re more worried about my personal views on life and people then you are about the hockey posts … wishing death on someone even further demonstrates what a loser you are . and you arent even anything like the other flyers fans that post on here.. at least phanatic 77 and broadstreet fire back with some stuff that makes sense .. you’re just ignorant and easily offended by everything lol…..

      • ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:36 PM

        who’s offended? I’m not. I just dislike you and everything you stand for.

        “Hockey is a white man’s sport”
        -President Charles Logan, on a post about Subban being slurred at.

        I don’t know how you think there’s a place in this world for you. You constantly project your hate for yourself as hate for others. it doesn’t work, we all know you hate yourself and what your life is. nobody with a good life is that hateful.

        alright, i won’t comment on your un-funny racist “jokes” anymore. peace.

      • President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        hate’s such a strong word ….i never use it on myself or anyone , white, black , purple, green, gay straight bi whatever … you’re too easily offended and rattled and quit denying it … you dont like me just cause im old school with my beliefs and im not a modern day world changing liberal like you are …

      • ibieiniid - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        stop telling me I’m offended. you enjoy laughing at your own nonsensical jokes, I enjoy racist-shaming (which you seem to be getting quite “offended” over). just because you perceive the world as being overly sensitive doesn’t mean it is. you’re just a callous old hick in some shack in the south that nobody in this world cares about. just live the little bit of your horribly sh**ty life you have left and quit spewing your unwanted hate all over everybody else.

        go ahead, get the last word, I know that’s so important to you… since you have no job, kids, or education to spend time on instead.

      • President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 5:12 PM

        my last word is nothing more then a big ole LOL at you .. you assume to know so much about me … and proof that you’re an angry lil shi*t & off your rocker is the long winded paragraphs you post …

      • President Charles Logan - Jul 9, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        oh and btw dont try and add others to your side for this debate as you tried with the “we all know ” comment…
        who’s the we you’re referring to anyways?

  6. djshnooks - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Where’s all the Latvians!?!

    I thought for sure Teddy Nolan would be trying to bring in Daugavains and Ozolinsh.

    • shaundre93 - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Daugavains lost his chance when he blew Game 1 for the B’s against the Hawks. Painful memory… There were a couple guys I thought may actually get some attention. I remember Darzins was one of the fastest guys at the tourney and scored that nice goal against Canada and Sprukts seemed to be right in the middle of every big play for Latvia. Thought they may get a shot, especially in Buffalo

  7. georgejarkko - Jul 9, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    I think Evgeni Artyhukin would be a fine addition to the LA Kings. Or anyone else.

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