The dispute over what league Alexander Radulov will play hockey in this season is headed for arbitration.
That is, if the National Hockey League and the Kontinental Hockey League can now decide on where that will take place. And even then the NHL isn’t convinced the upstart Russian league is sincere about the matter.
Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, told The Fan 590’s Hockeycentral@Noon Wednesday that he has had talks with KHL officials about resolving the question of which league has the rights to Radulov’s services. Daly also said he has doubts whether the KHL will actually go through with arbitration because in Daly’s opinion, Radulov’s contract status is not in doubt.
"Everyone knows Radulov has a contract with Nashville," Daly said.
Radulov, a 22-year-old winger with the Nashville Predators, signed a contract to play in the KHL despite having one year remaining on his deal with Nashville. Predators GM David Poile told Sportsnet’s Mike Brophy Tuesday that he had heard that Radulov was now having second thoughts about playing in Russia. Radulov was third in scoring on Nashville last season with 26 goals and 58 points in 81 games.
KHL president Alexander Medvedev said an agreement between his league and the NHL to honour each other’s contracts was only a "gentleman’s agreement,” and did not apply to the Radulov case because it was signed before the agreement.
Daly told HC@Noon hosts Daren Millard and Nick Kypreos that the issue now to be determined is where an arbitration hearing would take place. The KHL wants it to be heard in Russia while the NHL wants an international arbitrator to hear the case elsewhere.
"(The KHL) has suggested they are amenable to arbitration in the Radulov matter," Daly said. The KHL would like to include in the arbitration its objection to contracts Russian players – Andrei Loktionov,Vyacheslav Voinov and Andrei Mayorov – signed with NHL teams, but Daly said he believes those are a separate matter.
Earlier this month, the KHL withdrew its appeal on five players who were signed away from the KHL by NHL clubs, including Columbus Blue Jackets winger Nikita Filatov, Minnesota Wild defenceman Tomas Mojzis, Vancouver Canucks centre Jason Krog, New Jersey Devils centre Fedor Fedorov and Phoenix Coyotes centre Viktor Tikhonov.