Let's assume, for a minute, that the Ducks are fully intent on trading Bobby Ryan on Friday at the draft in Pittsburgh. Let's assume, for arguments sake, that Murray was able to sell Bobby as someone who you could build around for the future, thus netting us the 2nd overall pick, while letting us keep our 6th overall pick. Let's also assume, come September 15 that there is a lockout. Now, what do you do in terms of drafting? Russian or no?
There are many factors that influence these types of decisions within the team, in regards to who's staying, who's going, what are the greatest needs and yada-yada-yada. BUT, I want to look at potential drawbacks that stem from A) Various hockey writers who say that Russians don't have what it takes to compete in the NHL, B) the potential of a lockout on September 15th, and B.1) the KHL.
A) OK, so by now all of you must have read Terry Ryan's tweet during the whole Radulov/Kostitsyn staying-out-lategate. No? Well, I won't link you to his Twitter, I'll let the fine people at Puck Daddy cover that here. Now, lets be completely honest: all of it is abject crap. Sure they stayed out and partied a bit. So what? Who doesn't? Was it bad that they missed curfew... yes, but who from time to time hasn't? But I feel that this only reflects on the two players in question, not the entirety of Russian hockey players as a whole. The following are standout out Russians who have shown dedication to the league: Ovi, Malkin, Sergei Federov (who will make an encore later on in this article), Gonchar, Alexander Mogilny, Datsyuk, Pavel Bure and my god could I go on. What all these players have in common is that they are major stars of the game, and are not seen as "lazy," or "uninspired" etc. They all play/played their asses off when it came to crunch time, and should be praised rather than shat upon. End of story.
B & B.1) What WILL have an impact is the possibility of the impending lockout. With the NFL's new CBA granting more revenue to the owners, the NHL owners will look to follow, demanding a bigger percentage of the pie than they get right now. However, how the league can say that when there have been hundreds of articles touting growth since the last lockout is beyond me, but that's not what we are here to look at, as I am not an economist. We are here to look at the impact the KHL could have on the NHL and the draft if there is a lockout.
Now, obviously I'm not in the know anymore than the next person on the site, but I do know that on September 15 the CBA is up. I also know that, as of right a few days ago, the KHL is salivating at the potential of a work stoppage. But, how does this affect the Ducks, you ask? Well, other than the real world possibility of it ending the careers of Selanne and Koviu, it also makes you question drafting a Russian with that hypothetical 2nd pick, no matter how much they say they want to play in the NHL. So, let's assume for sake of argument that we SHOCK EVERYONE and draft BOTH Yakupov and Grigorenko 2nd and 6th.
Now: let's say there is a lockout come September 15th. Across the waters and all of Europe and some of Asia, deep inside the Kremlin, KHL president Alexander Medvedev laughs manically and opens the doors of his league to North American players. What will happen? Will Yakupov and Grigorenko become the second and third versions of the Alexander Radulov saga? Will they say "we will be back when NHL starts up again?" Or will they say "we will play one full year in the KHL and then come to the NHL next year?" Will other Ducks follow suit and play in the KHL for part of the year, or a full year?
Well, all of this depends on how the KHL decides to invite players to the league should a lockout happen. It seems that they could do like what the old RSL (Russian Superleague) did during the most recent lockout: let players in, and allow them to leave when the NHL got its act together. This would seem like the best route from a NHL standpoint, as the KHL would have those players for X-number of months and they would return them when the lockout ended. From the KHL's point of view this is not good. Sure you can claim to having "the best hockey players in the world!" but only for a limited time. If the KHL really wanted to maximize the revenue and exposure of the league, they would probably make it that you must play one full season in the KHL before returning to the NHL. You decided to come here: you must honor that commitment. And that, believe it nor not, may not scare NHLer's as much as you would hope.
The New York Post reported that Alexander Radulov may become the worlds best paid hockey player considering tax implications. Now, what these "tax implications" are, I don't know. But the thought of getting paid millions of dollars by oil rich KHL clubs is certainly something to chew over in light of a potential lockout, no matter what the stipulations are. Also, it should be mentioned that CSKA Moscow just bought the rights to Radulov for $8 Million. The GM of that club? Sergie Federov. My thinking is that if other KHL clubs are willing to pay $8 Million just to negotiate with an individual, than a top tier NHLer must be worth at least that much for a season, if not more. And if the NHL cap is shrunk to say $36million per team (which is 3 million lower than the cap coming out of the last lockout, and is the KHL's new cap), and the players portion of the pie is slashed, then the KHL might actually be the best option financially.Though, to be fair, that isn't looking like the trend right now. But, it stands to reason that the Ducks could not only lose Bobby Ryan via trade but also Yakupov and Grigorenko to the KHL for multiple seasons. And possibly Getzy, Beauch, Koviu, Teemu (assuming he doesn't retire before hand), for at least one season with a distinct possibility of losing role playing guys for longer, if the KHL goes with the second type of offer.
Now, do I really see all this happening. Hell no. But, it could. And boy, would it be a boon for the KHL.