The GM of Kontinental League team Moscow Dynamo created a stir over the weekend by suggesting his team would pursue Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin in the event of an NHL lockout.
Andrey Safronov told Russian news site Rianovosti his club would speak with Ovechkin, who began his professional career with Dynamo during the Russian Super League era, adding it would be up to the team’s head coach if they sign him.
As for non-Russian NHLers joining Dynamo during a potential lockout, Safronov pointed out his club was already at its league-mandated limit of five foreign players.
Dynamo president Arkady Rotenberg, however, was quick to distance himself from Safronov’s comments, stating signing Ovechkin was “unnecessary” and would bring “no prestige” to the club.
Still, Rotenberg didn’t fully close the door on the possibility, hinting he could be convinced if his GM and coach pressed the issue.
If Dynamo were to pass on Ovechkin – assuming, of course, he intended to play in the KHL during an NHL lockout – odds are other KHL clubs would be more than happy to sign him.
The site also noted several KHL teams have indicated which Russian players they’d like to add in the event of an NHL lockout.
Mettalurg Magnitogorsk plans to exercise its rights on Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin (who played for them prior to joining the NHL), while Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk would bring back Edmonton Oilers rookie Nail Yakupov.
Reports out of Russia suggest Malkin has already agreed to sign with Magnitogorsk.
His agent, however, said his client has only been in discussions about a “week-to-week” deal and nothing had been finalized.
DOAN’S DEADLINE NEARS
The end may finally be in sight for the Shane Doan free agency saga.
Doan’s agent, Terry Bross, told the Arizona Republic his client would sign a contract prior to Sept. 15, which is also the end date of the current NHL collective bargaining agreement.
Doan hopes to re-sign with the Phoenix Coyotes, provided its ownership situation is resolved by that date. Otherwise, Bross claims the veteran right winger will sign with another NHL team.
He said the reason for wanting to sign before that date is due to uncertainty over what will be contained in a new CBA, particularly with regard to limitations on contracts.
The New York Daily News claimed the Rangers and Vancouver Canucks are considered the front-runners for Doan’s services, though the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins are also believed to be interested.
Last week it was reported the Buffalo Sabres made a four-year, $30-million pitch for Doan.
But Sabres GM Darcy Regier told the Buffalo News he’s had no conversations with Doan and wouldn’t comment on the rumored offer, though he did admit his club is interested in the Coyotes captain.
The Detroit Red Wings are also interested, but it remains to be seen if Doan has any interest in them.
One way or the other, the Doan saga should be over by mid-September.
Rumor Roundup appears Monday-Friday only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News, Kukla’s Korner and The Guardian, Charlottetown.