Russia's Kontinental Hockey League has announced a new set of guidelines for its clubs signing NHL talent in the event of a lockout.
Aimed at ensuring "that only top-level foreign players come to play in the Kontinental Hockey League," the KHL announced specific conditions regarding which players were eligible to sign deals.
Each team would be allowed to sign three eligible National Hockey League players above the teams' established roster limit of 25, but of those three only one could be a player born outside Russia.
As for the foreign-born talent, a strict set of criteria were outlined as to which players would be eligible. Players wishing to sign in the KHL must fulfill one of the following four requirements, as outlined in a league statement:
- The player has played no fewer than 150 games in the NHL over the last three seasons.
- Has experience of playing in the KHL.
- Represented his country at one of the last two IIHF World Championships, World Junior Championships or the Olympics.
- Is a Stanley Cup winner, a Stanley Cup finalist, or a winner of one of the individual prizes awarded by the NHL at the close of their season.
KHL clubs based outside Russia, however, may sign more than one foreign player among the maximum three NHL players and those players would not be subject to the conditions outlined above.
The move does acknowledge the temporary nature of such players signing in Russia, ensuring that each contract must contain an out clause that terminates it in the event of a resolution to a potential NHL lockout.
KHL rosters would be allowed to have six foreign-born players per club, with a limit of five foreign players named in the roster for each game.
Salaries paid to NHL players during the lockout will not count towards the clubs' KHL salary cap obligations. However, player salaries can be no higher than 65 per cent of the player's expected 2012-13 NHL salary.