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Islanders: Pending KHL UFA’s can sign NHL deals for 2020-21 now

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #31 of Russia comes out to the ice prior the game against USA at Ice Palace on May 22, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - MAY 22: Ilya Sorokin #31 of Russia comes out to the ice prior the game against USA at Ice Palace on May 22, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images)
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KHL players with expiring deals, like New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin, are able to sign contracts with the NHL now.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed KHL pending free agent Alexander Barabanov to an NHL contract for the 2020-21 season. According to a Memorandum of Understanding between the KHL and NHL, the contract signing date did not breach any rules. Meaning KHL players on expiring deals, like New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin can sign deals now.

The day after Barabanov signed with the Leafs, Russian outlet RIA Novosti citing the KHL press service indicated that KHL pending free agents are allowed to sign NHL deals so long as they’ve played the final game of the year, even if it occurs prior to the contract expiring on April 30th.

Because the 2019-20 KHL season was unfortunately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that means all KHL players have played the last game of the season. Leaving them free to sign deals with the NHL without violating the Memorandum of Understanding between the two leagues.

Memorandum of Understanding

Using Google Translate, the Memorandum of Understanding is as follows:

"“According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the KHL and the NHL, if a club of one league intends to sign a contract with a player who is on a contract with a club of another league, which comes into force no earlier than the expiration of the current contract, the club can only do so if the following requirements: a) the player has completed the last game season of his current contract, b) confirmation has been received from the league in which the player does not have contractual obligations in this league after the indicated date of the current contract”"

The obvious application for the New York Islanders is that they are free to sign Ilya Sorokin to a contract today, rather than waiting until his contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

With that being said, I doubt Lou Lamoriello was just waiting around for Sorokin’s contract to expire before he got him to sign a deal with the Islanders. I’m sure Lou was well aware of the MoU. Lou’s going to take the time it takes to get it done.

“If you have time you take it”, am I right?

Just to be clear, teams can’t sign new deals for the 2019-20 season right now. Any contract signed has to be for the 2020-21 season.

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I know, that the Soroking dance is getting tiring for fans. Anytime we post something about Sorokin it’s usually met with “I’ll believe it when I see it”. And that’s fair. He’s been rumored to be coming to North America for years yet here we are in 2020, nearly six years since the Islanders drafted him in the third round and still there’s no contract signed.

But now we know a contract can be signed any day now.

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