Alex Radulov signed a deal to play in Russia despite being under contract with the Predators. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
The NHL and Kontinental Hockey League have finally agreed that an arbitrator should decide the Alexander Radulov contract impasse, but that doesn’t mean they’re on the same page when it comes to how to go about doing it.
Not by a longshot.
The KHL sent a letter to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly Tuesday saying it would agree to binding arbitration on the Radulov contract with no right of appeal to the decision.
But that’s where things have fallen off the rails. The KHL will only agree to arbitration if the Radulov case is heard by a Russian arbitration court, while the cases for the disputed contracts of prospects Maxim Mayorov, Andrei Loktionov and Vyacheslav Voinov would be heard by a U.S. arbitration court.
When asked whether this would be an acceptable arrangement for the NHL, Daly responded with a resounding no.
“We’ve offered arbitration before an international arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switz.,” Daly wrote in an email to THN.com.
He also said the NHL has no interest in going to arbitration over the three other contracts, all of which the NHL believes have been signed in good faith. Mayorov signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Loktionov and Voinov with the Los Angeles Kings.
“We don’t know why an arbitration is even called for,” Daly wrote. “We’ve asked the KHL for evidence (of any kind) that they are acting in violation of contractual obligations to KHL clubs. We have none at this point.”
The latest development will likely not do much to soothe the frosty relations between the NHL and KHL. And all of this comes amid reports that Radulov wants to return to the Nashville Predators after signing a three-year, $13 million KHL contract this past summer while still under contract to the Predators.
Even though the NHL would not stand in Radulov’s way if he wanted to rejoin the Predators, Radulov bolting his Salavat Ufa team would almost create a legal quagmire, since the KHL believes Radulov’s contract is valid.