When July 1 came around and the free-agent market opened, it was expected that the KHL would try to make some moves. But it is all quiet for now.
What we do know, and have known for quite a while, is that the KHL is pushing hard to get Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) back to Russia. Here on Puck Daddy not long ago I said that there is no way Kovalchuk is going back. He is one of the best players in the world and, therefore, belongs in the best league in the world — the NHL.
(Ed. Note: His agent, Jay Grossman, said Kovalchuk will likely make his decision Monday.)
That doesn't mean the KHL will stop trying. First, there was a report of a whopping $14 million-per-year offer. I wonder where the media gets these numbers from? The Magic Ball?
Now the same outlet is reporting a $9 million-per-year offer. I don't know where this number came from either. But in a recent interview with Sportsdaily.ru, KHL president and chairman of the board of SKA St. Petersburg Alexander Medvedev said that "the negotiation process is ongoing. Let's wait for a few days." Medvedev said that he personally spoke with Kovalchuk, trying to persuade him to come over to Russia.
Medvedev also said: "We are negotiating with [Evgeni] Nabokov as well. We are hoping that we will be able to agree despite the competition from overseas clubs."
Zherdev got married Sunday in Moscow to his girlfriend of a few years. As for the present, Atlant Mytishchi — the KHL club where Zherdev played last season — is reporting on its website that the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in signing Zherdev. According to the club website, both teams have already made an offer to the player (something that Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star has denied as far as the Leafs are concerned).
Nevertheless, Atlant's website is reporting that Zherdev and the clubs can't find the common ground because of the player's salary demand of $4 million.
One of Zherdev's agents, Igor Popov, said the following to the Atlant's website: "I cannot comment on this information yet. Let's wait a week. The situation is not easy right now. But I can confirm that Nikolai will most likely leave for the NHL."
According to Puck Daddy's sources, the Boston Bruins are also interested in signing Nik Zherdev. But for $4 million?
In other KHL news, despite earlier reports, Alexander Svitov is not coming back to the NHL. The player left Jaromir Jagr(notes)-led Avangard Omsk for Salavat Yulaev of the KHL. "Yes, I really changed the club and will now play in Ufa. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you about all the details of my new contract," Svitov told Sovetsky Sport.