Today I talk about the most interesting trades in the 2020 KHL off-season and discussing the start-up with the KHL players’ salaries.

KHL Players’ Salaries Leaked by Media

1. Recently, KHL President Alexei Morozov was asked why the league has not published the players’ salaries. He says, “according to the law, we can reveal the player’s salary only with his approval. Someone agrees others do not. Does it have any sense to publish an uncompleted list with salaries? Even the NHL nor the NHLPA do not publish the salaries on their websites. These data are available at the other websites, which have nothing to do with the league. That is a result of a great job by journalists. We have the same situation in Russia too, if the player’s salaries were publicly available in the future, it would be a result of the job by journalists.

And it did not take so long. The media started leaking the salaries en masse & just a month later a Telegram account @KHLSalaryBot was created. This account just summarises all media leaks with the players’ salaries. Of course, it is just a beginning, their database has been updated all the time with the new data. They have an almost full roster of SKA, Salavat Yulaev, Ak Bars, Avangard, Dynamo Msc, Avtomobilist & Traktor, and some players from other teams. It remains to be seen if they add more players & teams within time. And if they transform their start-up into something serious & reliable. Of course, the KHL deserves its version of the NHL’s CapFriendly. 

Just reminding you the KHL has its own database with all details of the players’ contracts, but this database is not publicly available. It is called the KHL Central Information Bureau (CIB). The KHL CIB will play a crucial role in controlling the rules stipulated by the salary cap mechanism.

Plotnikov, Karpov & Kablukov From SKA to Amur

2. So, I can say the 2020 KHL off-season is very interesting so far. And it is all due to the new salary cap rules. The KHL players’ salaries leaked, big trades & players’ moves in rich clubs due to the ceiling issues. Just reminding that the KHL expected these kinds of moves when approving the salary cap mechanism a few years ago.

So SKA St.Petersburg needs to make changes in their roster to come under the cap ceiling. So, they try to re-negotiate some of their expensive players to lower salaries. If it is not possible, the club trades the players. So, SKA traded the Russian forward Sergei Plotnikov to Amur. His basic salary in SKA was reported to be ₽75 million, which is a lot for a depth player in the new era.

Amur traded Plotnikov to Metallurg Magnitogorsk in exchange for several players, including young forward Egor Spiridonov & the KHL rights to defenceman Egor Zamula (Flyers) & monetary compensation.

Then Amur traded Spiridonov & Zamula’s rights to SKA in exchange for expensive depth players Ilya Kablukov (₽58 million) & Maxim Karpov (₽65 million). SKA needed to get rid of these expensive contracts, but both can not be directly traded to Magnitka for the following reason.

Karpov & Kablukov to Magnitka & Avangard

3. Of course, Kablukov’s & Karpov’s deals need to be re-negotiated with the lower basic salary & players agree because they get the buy-out compensation for termination of the deal. But this buy-out compensation is fully calculated toward the club’s cap if the same player & club will sign a new deal for the 2020-21 season. Magnitka can not afford it because they do not have space under the ceiling.  

So, they came with the model when Magnitka paid the appropriate money to Amur (for Plotnikov), who used them for the buy-out compensation for Kablukov & Karpov after terminating of their deals. Both as unrestricted free agents signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

And that is not all. Magnitka traded Kablukov to Avangard Omsk. They also added Russian defenceman Alexei Bereglazov, who did not want to continue in Magnitka anymore. As an exchange, Avangard pays a monetary compensation to Magnitka & adding the Canadian forward Taylor Beck (₽70 million), whose basic contract value is too heavy for Avangard. Reportedly Beck agreed to lower basic salary (₽55 million) with Magnitka. Bereglazov’s basic salary in Avangard should be  ₽25 million which is much less than in Magnitka.

SKA, Metallurg & Traktor Trade With Big Names

4. Another big trade was done by SKA, Metallurg & Traktor. SKA has neither a cap space nor roster spot for forward Nikolai Prokhorkin, so his KHL rights were traded to Metallurg in exchange for the KHL rights to forward Vladislav Kamenev. Just reminding you, Prokhorkin played for NHL’s Los Angeles Kings in 2019-20. He should sign with Magnitka for next season, likely after July 1st. And Kamenev played for Colorado Avalanche in NHL last season, his contract expires this off-season.

Just minutes later SKA traded their young defenceman Vladislav Semin to Traktor in exchange for the KHL rights to forward Yakov Trenin playing for Nashville Predators in 2019-20. His contract in the NHL also expires in summer 2020. If Trenin signs with SKA this off-season or later, Traktor gets monetary compensation, at around ₽25 million.

While formally having Vladislav Semin, Traktor immediately traded him to Magnitka in exchange for defencemen Semyon Buivan, Gleb Babintsev, and forwards Pavel Dorofeyev & Dmitri Sheshin. Dorofeyev has a silver medal from the 2020 World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic. 

Trades Involving Nail Yakupov

5. The Russian forward Nail Yakupov has been involved in other interesting trade moves. He played 46 regular-season games for SKA with 20 points (10+10) last season. He was a depth player at SKA with a heavy salary of around ₽70 million.

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So, SKA traded him to Vityaz in exchange for forward Pavel Koltygin & the KHL rights to forward German Rubtsov, now playing for Flyers in the NHL. Apparently, Vityaz tried to re-negotiate his basic salary without success. So, Vityaz traded Yakupov to Amur in mid-June. It remains to be seen if he stays in Khabarovsk. There are rumours about his trade to another team where he should sign a deal with a lower basic salary.

Feature Image Credit: (Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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I support European club hockey and I want European hockey to be as strong as possible. European hockey fans have witnessed too many attempts to launch a cross-border competition. I have been following hockey all my life and I have had the same question. Why is there not a hockey version of the UEFA Champions League? Or a European version of the NHL? 2008 was a year when a version of both, was launched. As a fan, I started to follow both leagues although it was not cool to follow the KHL at the time. Furthermore, it was a bit complicated to get the first-hand information about the KHL, the media did not cover the league as deeply as I would want. Based on my experience with the KHL & other European club hockey competitions I would like to write about the most important on and off-ice, issues of European club hockey.