I’m very surprised Sergei Zubov is close to signing a KHL deal.
Zubov is 39 and coming off an injury-plagued season, but I would think there might be a few NHL teams interested in signing one of the game’s all-time great offensive defensemen. If nothing else, Zubov could probably quarterback the powerplay as a special teams-type seventh defenseman. But I suspect he could play even more regularly.
Zubov will have some NHL-flavored company in Russia. Restricted free agent Jiri Hudler signed for two years at $5 million per year. It’s a sticky situation since Hudler is still under contract to the Wings and undergoing arbitration. Basically, the KHL is ignoring Hudler’s NHL contract.
At this point, you see that the KHL does have some ability to draw NHL talent, but not really elite NHL talent. While it would be great to have guys like Zubov and Hudler playing in North America, I’m not sure many people will be sitting around next season saying “Wow. I wish Jiri Hudler was playing in this game.”
Someone who probably won’t be going to the KHL is Brendan Shanahan. The Devils will have him if he’ll have the Devils. He’s expected to decide by the end of next week. Although I think it would be pretty funny if the KHL did make a serious run at Shanahan.