The Murky Status of Dmitri Orlov

In today’s Examiner, OFB comrade Dmitry Chesnokov offers an update on Capitals’ 2009 second-round pick Dmitri Orlov, one of the most interesting players at last week’s Development Camp. The upshot: he valued greatly his trip overseas to attend the camp, he is home now in Russia, and he is uncertain just where he’ll develop as a young professional in 2009-10.

At the end of camp last Saturday Orlov told us he’d be more than happy to play in Hershey next season, however that would require the Caps inking him to a deal at a time when cap space is at a premium. If Orlov were to remain in Russia for the upcoming hockey season he’d develop in one of the best professional hockey leagues in the world while not earning a year of NHL service in a commitment to the Caps. It’s sort of like having a promising freshman running back on campus with a top-10 college football team: redshirt him and you still get four years of eligibility from him in uniform when he can have a greater impact.

But as Chesnokov pointed out yesterday at Puck Daddy, Orlov’s services may be wedded to the KHL for some time — the upstart Russian league mandates that players are team property until the age of 28, and that players seeking to opt out of their “restricted free agent” status there must pay out one-third of their contracted value.       

So how were Russian players such as Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin able to get out of Russia and into the NHL? Those stars’ deals were negotiated in the old Russian Super League; the KHL has an altogether different set of contractual obligations.

“Malkin, Ovechkin, others until this year, came over from the Superleaguenot the KHL,” Chesnokov told me this morning. “The Superleague player contracts were governed by the Russian Labor Law. KHL contracts are goverened by the KHL regulations, and not by the Labor Law.
“Under the Labor Law, an employee could get out of the contract by giving a ‘two week notice.’ It is different now. Under KHL regulations RFAs remain the property of their teams until they are 28. Players must sign qualifying offers, if such offers are presented to them by their clubs. Thus, if Mettalurg Novkuznetsk put a [Qualifying Offer] on the table, Orlov must sign it.”
Recently two promising young Russians, Denis Parshin and Sergei Shirokov, unsuccessfully challenged the RFA system.
“Parshin and Shirokov disagreed and went to court in Russia,” Chesnokov added. “The court agreed with the KHL, and not with the players. That’s why there is this big deal. That’s why the NHL doens’t want to recognize ‘forced’ KHL RFA contracts.” 
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7 Responses to The Murky Status of Dmitri Orlov

  1. J.P. says:

    Good stuff, but one quick note –
    “At the end of camp last Saturday Orlov told us he’d be more than happy to play in Hershey next season, however that would require the Caps inking him to a deal at a time when cap space is at a premium.”
    If the team signed him and he played in Hershey next season, there’d be no implication whatsoever to the Caps 2009-10 salary cap. What’s at a premium that would be impacted, though, is the limit on the number of contracts the team can have at one time (50), and, as you note, it’d be one year earlier that free agency arrived and whatnot.

  2. Sombrero Guy says:

    how can the KHL justify taking Hudler and Radulov but expect Orlov to ashere to the 28 year old RFA rule?

  3. Sombrero Guy says:

    ahem. I meant to type “adhere”

  4. Doug says:

    So does thi smean we won’t be seeing Orlov in a Caps sweater for 10 years? It sure sounds like it. I’m guessing Semin goes to the KHL for the 2010/2011 season.

  5. CapsFan1975 says:

    Gee whiz, the KHL has essentially instituted a Reserve Clause that binds a player until they’re 28 years old. So no hot 18 year old prospect who ever plays in the KHL will get to play in the NHL until they’re 28. That’s a long time to be bound to a team.
    Sooner or later, we’ll see the KHL’s equivalent of Curt Flood who will sue them for the right to free agency.

  6. hd88gt says:

    Pay the Russians enough money and anyone can come over.

  7. Aaron says:

    Now that Hudler has officially become part of the Dynamo, I see nothing that would keep Dimitri Orlov from skipping out of his RFA situation and coming to play for the Caps/Bears. Turnabout is fair play, afterall.

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