NHL Players Most Likely to Leave for Russia’s KHL

January 12th, 2011 by April Weiner Leave a reply »
Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has been in the news recently after Evgeni Nabokov terminated his contract with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg. Also Kyle Wellwood and Atlant Mytishchi parted ways over conflicting reports of whether he returned to the U.S. to be with his pregnant wife or if he was cut based on his performance.

Wellwood signed with the St. Louis Blues and Nabokov has yet to sign with another team.

Critics of the KHL will say that these two cases prove that the KHL isn’t competitive enough with the NHL; they might leave but they’ll have buyer’s remorse and want to return to the NHL.

Most NHL fans and North American players don’t take the KHL seriously as a competitive league. The majority of KHL players are Russians who have seen all they can out of the NHL and are returning to their homeland to see some final action before retirement.

But for some, the KHL is an alternative to spending years in the AHL, with routine call-ups to NHL level (see Chris Bourque). Or it is a way for Russians to return to where they are most comfortable; and with the large paychecks as well.

Alexei Yashin, who le ...

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