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KHL interest in Mikhail Grigorenko might “plunge” prospect’s draft stock

Elviss Merzlikins, Mikhail Grigorenko

Latvia goalie Elviss Merzlikins, left, stops a shot from Russia’s Mikhail Grigorenko during the first period of a world junior hockey championships game in Calgary, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)


While the Edmonton Oilers (or perhaps a lucky trading partner) ended up winning the “Fail for Nail” sweepstakes, some believe that it’s not much worse to “Fail for Mikhail” instead. Mikhail Grigorenko is known as one of the other hot Russian forward prospects going into the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but a new development might make his stock drop considerably.

Slava Malamud presented a round of interesting KHL-related bits about how the league will try to lure “returning Russian NHL players,” yet he might not stop there. Malamud reports that CSKA might make a “big play” to sign Grigorenko, which makes sense since they selected him with the eighth pick of the KHL’s junior 2011 draft.

Malamud believes that this development could “plunge his draft stock” and with good reason. The NHL’s rookie minimum contract has been great for teams to limit costs and risks, but it opens up the chance for clubs like CSKA to pay high-profile prospects (particularly Russian ones) more than they’d make on entry-level deals. While Alex Radulov’s situation was unusual for loophole reasons, it’s a cautionary tale for teams pondering the already-risky proposition of investing millions in a player who won’t turn 18 until May 16.