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  • Writer's pictureRyan Lake

KHL Contract May Delay Nikita Gusev’s Vegas Golden Knights Debut

Gusev has proven this season in the KHL that he can be a top six player in the NHL. The former KHL MVP and current All-star led the league in points with 82 in 62 games. Gusev has also won an Olympic Gold Medal and was named the best forward in the PyeongChang Olympics.

Gusev’s KHL contract will expire at the end of April. Once his contract expires, Gusev will be free to sign a contract with the Golden Knights. Now that SKA St. Petersburg’s season has ended the Golden Knights are eager to have Gusev join the team. For this to happen SKA St. Petersburg will need to agree to release Gusev. This might sound like a smooth transaction; however, the Russian Federation has already named Gusev to their World Championship roster. This could become a complication and delay Gusev’s NHL debut.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” content_placement=”middle”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Once released from the KHL, Gusev will sign an entry-level contract with the Golden Knights. As an older player, Gusev, 26, will be allowed to sign a one-year deal. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) the maximum allowable salary under an entry-level deal is $925,000.  The maximum signing bonus available on an entry-level deal is 10 percent of the total contract. Therefore, if Gusev signs a deal worth the maximum salary he would receive a signing bonus of $92,500. However, he would not receive the $925,000 since he did not play in the regular season. The Golden Knights and Gusev could also agree to certain performance bonuses.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”6323″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Additionally, every player that plays in the NHL Playoffs receives payment outside of their contracted salary. In 2013, for example, the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks received $3.75 million from a CBA designated player pool of money. This works out to be an estimated $163,043 per player.

Gusev would become a restricted free agent on July 1, 2019 and provided he has a strong performance in the playoffs he could be in a position to demand a substantial salary from the Golden Knights.

In order to join the Golden Knights before then end of April, Gusev will need SKA St. Petersburg to agree to release him. The Russian Federation may add some complexity to the transfer, given their desire to have Gusev play in the World Championships.

The transfer of players between international leagues can become complicated depending on the parties involved. As a general rule, international player transfers are regulated and governed by the International Ice Hockey Federation (“IIHF”).

There are four principal types of transfers that can occur in the hockey world. The first type of transfer is the transfer of a player from an IIHF league to another IIHF league. These transfers occur when a player moves between the various European leagues (e.g. a move from Switzerland to Sweden).

The second occurs when a player in an IIHF league transfers to the NHL or the KHL. A third category is when a player moves from the NHL to an IIHF member league. The fourth type of transfer occurs when a player transfers from the KHL to the NHL or vice versa. For more information regarding the types of player transfers, please see: International Player Transfers In Ice Hockey.

If Gusev is to join the Golden Knights before the end of April the fourth type of player transfer will be invoked, which is governed by a memorandum of understanding between the NHL and KHL.

The addition of Gusev may well give the Golden Knights enough skill and talent to find themselves back in the Stanley Cup Finals.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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