NHL voids Blue Jackets’ deal with Mikhail Grigorenko due to CBA rules

Mikhail Grigorenko of Russia celebrates after scoring during the IIHF World Championship. (Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

The NHL has voided the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ contract with forward Mikhail Grigorenko, the team confirmed Monday.

The team announced early Monday that it had signed the former Avalanche and Sabres forward to a one-year deal for the 2020-21 season, which Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported was worth $1.2 million. According to longtime team beat writer Aaron Portzline, the league voided that deal “because it doesn’t conform with the CBA.”

TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported that the contract specifically violated section 50.8(d) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement:

Later Monday, the Blue Jackets confirmed the league’s decision to void the deal, and said they plan to re-file the contract on July 1.

“Earlier today, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced the signing of forward Mikhail Grigorenko to a one-year contract for the 2020-21 National Hockey League season. The contract subsequently has been rejected by NHL Central Registry due to a misunderstanding with regards to the filing window,” the statement read.

“We have been in contact with the league and Dan Milstein, Grigorenko’s agent, and the contract will be filed on July 1.”

Grigorenko last played in the NHL during the 2016-17 season. The 25-year-old has spent the past three seasons in the KHL with CSKA Moscow, and is coming off two particularly productive campaigns in which he amassed a total of 93 points through 102 games with the Russian club.

While the club’s first attempt at bringing the forward back to the NHL didn’t pan out, Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen made clear the club’s opinion of Grigorenko when that original deal was announced.

“He’s just getting into his prime as a player,” Kekalainen said Monday, via BlueJackets.com. “…We’ve watched him the last couple of years and have had interest in him the last couple of years. And he’s improved. But time will tell on the North American side. We do believe in his potential. We do think he has a lot of those ingredients that will make a player successful over here.

“… He can play all forward positions, which is great for versatility. He’s a left shot, but he can play right side, left side and center. He plays special teams. He’s a power-play player. We’re going to see where he can fit in.”

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