NHL fails to reach new transfer deal with KHL

Deputy Commissioner and chief legal officer of the NHL Bill Daly. (Mark Blinch/CP)

Players under contract to KHL teams will be unable to make the jump to the NHL for at least another year.

The leagues recently held discussions about expanding their transfer agreement to look more like those the NHL has with other European federations, but couldn’t reach a new deal. Instead, they’ve extended their pre-existing memorandum of understanding through June 2016.

Essentially, the NHL and KHL are vowing to continue respecting each others’ contracts. An expanded transfer agreement would have allowed players with KHL deals to jump to North America in exchange for a transfer fee — just as Swedes, Finns and others are currently able to do.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly handled the negotiations for the NHL and told Sportsnet on Thursday: “Ultimately, the KHL wasn’t interested in a player transfer agreement.”

A representative from the Russian-based league left open the possibility of that changing in the future.

“Over the last few years a number of issues have arisen concerning relations between the KHL and NHL, and we have yet to find a compromise which is fully satisfactory for our league,” KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko said in a statement. “We will continue to work toward this goal and strive to reach a far better level of co-operation with our friends across the Atlantic.”

NHL teams appear poised to renew their push for Russian players. There were 17 teenagers from that country selected at last weekend’s draft — the most since 2004 — with the KHL’s instability easing concern that players will eventually come here to play.

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