Report about Russian contract offer to Malkin gets IIHF’s attention

A Toronto Star report suggesting several Russian teams are ready to offer Penguins star Evgeni Malkin a multi-year deal worth $12.5 million per season spurred an unusual response from the International Ice Hockey Federation Friday.

A press release sent to media members led off by saying, “Although the International Ice Hockey Federation does not usually issue statements following unsubstantiated media reports, the IIHF finds it principally important to address the newspaper story,” and issued the following statement from IIHF president René Fasel:

“Although there will be no imminent Player Transfer Agreement between the IIHF and the NHL, all involved parties are in principal agreement to honor each other’s contracts. The NHL has informed the IIHF that this will be the policy of the league during the period without a PTA, and conversely, the IIHF has obligated its member national federations and leagues to do the same in its relations with the NHL.”

“We would view any signing, from either side, of a player under a valid contract, who does not have any legally valid out-clause, to be a clear violation of the mutual understanding and existing principle. It would potentially be punishable with suspended national team eligibility and suspension from all competition or activity organized by the IIHF or any IIHF member national association. This would include events like the Olympic Winter Games, the IIHF World Championship or international club competitions like the Champions Hockey League.”

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“Given this, we are confident that the report is not substantiated.” 

The Star story quotes a “high-ranking executive” as saying:

“Hey, we can afford to pay more than the NHL right now. Our economy is commodities-based so we’re not going through the same problems that you have in America.”

The new Continental Hockey League, which is slated to begin play Sept. 2, will employ a salary cap thought to be in the $25-$30 million range. According to the report, however, Malkin’s proposed deal would not count against the cap since he’s already under contact with an NHL team.