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KHL announces returning Russian NHL players won’t count against salary cap

Alexander Semin

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 2: Alexander Semin #28 of Washington Capitals skates during warmups before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers on May 2, 2012 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/NHLI via Getty Images)

Despite a rough season that rocked the league, the KHL still seems primed to try to wrestle away top players from the NHL. Slava Malamud reports that the KHL announced that “returning Russian NHL players” won’t count against the league’s salary cap.

Malamud reveals that KHL teams will only be allowed to sign one player according to that new standard, but it opens the door for deeper-pocketed clubs to shoot for a big name. Strangely, national team coaches would need to deem a player “worthy” of being excluded from salary cap consideration first, though.

The most obvious names that stand out are soon-to-be free agent wingers Alexander Semin (unrestricted, Washington Capitals) and Alex Radulov (restricted, Nashville Predators). Both boast boatloads of talent and some baggage with their NHL clubs. The lure of big bucks and perhaps more positive media scrutiny might beat whatever a prospective NHL team would offer, but we’ll have to wait and see.