The deal would regulate all player moves across the Atlantic with compensation and a signing deadline. The IIHF member countries have until midnight Tuesday to ratify the agreement.
The IIHF and the NHL have had agreements regulating player transfers to the NHL in place for the last 12 years. During the last two-year period, the agreement did not include the participation of Russia.
"We have an agreement in principle," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday, after meetings with IIHF members. "Everybody knows that Russian participation has been an issue in our last agreement and we are certainly hopeful the Russians will see fit to participate in this agreement."
Russia Ice Hockey Federation president and Hall of Fame goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, who will have to convince member teams to agree to the pact, was not present at Saturday's meeting.
The proposed agreement would run until the 2010-11 season and would include an annual flat development fee paid by the NHL to the IIHF.
The money would then be distributed by the IIHF to the national associations and its clubs.