Over the past few years Kontinental Hockey League free agents have become effective for clubs like Chicago, Montreal and Toronto. Think of names like Alexander Radulov, Artemi Panarin, or Nikita Zaitsev. The KHL is a very deep league with budding talent waiting to hit North America. For the players looking for contracts, the questions will be about money, ice time and team direction. Players like Radulov made great money back in Russia, but he wanted to be in the league with the world’s best. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few KHL free agents that are looking to make the jump this offseason.
The 29-year-old center toyed around with the NHL last offseason but ended up signing an extension with his team SKA Saint Petersburg. Shipachyov posted a monster regular season with 26 goals and 76 points in 50 games. SKA benefited most as they ended the season with only 8 regulation losses. Shipachyov plays on a team full of NHL stars and veterans, which include Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Slava Voynov. NHL teams showed interest last year but the Russian decided to stay home. This summer it’ll be tough to turn down the multiple offerings he’ll get from North America teams. Hockey analyst Rob Vollman came up with a hockey league conversion rating for the world’s different leagues. One KHL point converts to .80 NHL points. Using that equation Shipachyov is a potential 70 point NHL player. That’s one attractive free agent. The only thing that’ll keep him out of Las Vegas is the multiple contracts he’ll have offered. If teams believe he can produce like Radulov, expect Shipachyov to be looking for $5-6 million a year. Might be a bit rich for the Golden Knights in a year in which they aren’t expected to do much.