Tarasenko Returns to Russia
Prospect Vladimir Tarasenko has notified the Blues of his plans to play in the KHL while the NHL and its players battle it out at the bargaining table.
Tarasenko has been skating the last few weeks in St. Louis with several of his future Blues teammates. On Tuesday he said his goodbye telling many of them he was returning to his native homeland.
His KHL rights are currently owned by SKA St. Petersburg who has been pushing for the the 20 year-old to sign throughout the summer. Word is he’s yet to officially sign with the KHL club but will do so once he arrives back in Russia.
Tarasenko is not signing in the KHL as a “locked out player” as is the case with several NHL stars including Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Pavel Datsyuk.
An assignment clause was included in the contract Tarasenko signed with the Blues and the organization is simply assigning him to his KHL club in St. Petersburg. Earlier in the week the Blues assigned him to Peoria where the club would probably prefer he begin the season. We’ve already documented the positives of Tarasenko staying in North America although from a financial point of view it’s a no-brainer he returns to Russia. Sources suggest he could earn north of $200,000 a month playing in the KHL vs. a pro-rated salary of less than $70,000 if he were to play in Peoria.
SKA St. Petersburg must first agree to the terms of whatever agreement is made between Tarasenko and the club. As of Wednesday night he had yet to sign a KHL contract. Tarasenko will likely have the right to return to Peoria at any time in the event he is unhappy with the situation in the KHL even if the NHL lockout still exists. He’s contractually obligated to return to St. Louis once the NHL labor situation is resolved. The Blues are expected to release a statement as soon as Thursday morning.
Sources close to the Ottawa Senators tell me the club would like to get goaltender Ben Bishop signed to an AHL contract to allow him to play some games during the lockout. Any player signed to a NHL contract must have been on the AHL roster at the time of the AHL clear date, or trade deadline, last season to be eligible to play in the American league this season. Bishop would need to be signed to an AHL deal separate from his NHL contract.
More to come,
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