Are Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Frolov heading to the Kontinental Hockey Leagu
According to Russian websites, the two NHL stars plan on signing with St. Petersburg on July 1 when they both become unrestricted free agents.
The president of the St. Petersburg team is Alexander Medvedev, who also happens to be the president of the KHL. One of the other hats he wears is as deputy chairman of Gazprom, the Russian gas company that is under-writing the KHL’s losses.
The KHL has a salary cap in place but reports from Russia say the KHL will pass a new rule that allows teams to exceed the cap if they are luring top stars like Kovalchuk and Frolov away from the National Hockey League.
When asked about signing the two players, Medvedev said, “No comment.”
Kovalchuk ended the season with the New Jersey Devils and is best in class when it comes to the unrestricted free agent crop this summer.
The sniper has scored 40 or more goals six straight seasons, including two 50-goal seasons. He made $7.5 million US this season and reports say Medvedev is ready to dole out $12 million US for the star.
Frolov had 19 goals and 32 points for the Los Angeles Kings this season while earning $4 million US, and reports say he would fetch around $6 million US in St. Petersburg.
Kovalchuk , who is captain of the Russian team at the world championship, has refused to talk about his contract status, saying that can wait until after the 2010 worlds are over.
Russia plays Germany in the semifinal on Saturday, and the championship game is Sunday.
Medvedev is part of the Russian delegation here. He is Russia’s representative in the International Ice Hockey Federation and officials sometimes wonder whether he is like the fox in the hen house when it comes to relations between the NHL and Europe.