Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the marcus nilson affair: answers...(sortof)

with further information coming out regarding marcus nilson, but very little in the way of solid answers, i decided to enlist the help of the guys over at the NY times slapshot blog. they seem to have quite a good understanding of KHL/NHL relations, and post almost daily on the new goings-on, mostly with the radulov situation. the complete void over there regarding nilson seemed to be an oversight, considering the potential fallout of nilson not showing up to camp and trying to sign with the russian club that he's reportedly practicing with...

my comment this morning:
"a lot has been made of the radulov situation but it’s been extremely quiet on the marcus nilson front… in north america, that is. quite a few articles have been published in the swedish papers, recently, outlining that nilson is practicing with a KHL club, though still under contract with the flames….

i thought i’d bring it up here because you guys seem to have a pretty good handle on the KHL/NHL dealings, of late, and i’m fascinated with watching the nilson situation unfold. it’s the story of a guy who was a healthy scratch for most of last season, and who the flames put on waivers in june (but never bought out). a guy who doesn’t want to return to the team in 08/09, and a contract the flames should want to shake.

calgary could certainly stand to lose nilson’s million from the cap, and if nilson wants out (which seems to be the case) can this contract just be scrapped ? if nilson signs with CSKA moscow, will there be radulov-like fallout ? will sutter force nilson to honour his contract with a year in the quad cities, or suspend him for not showing up to camp ???

i wish i was fluent in swedish…. ;)"

stu hackel's response this afternoon:

"You are 100 percent correct (or maybe, since this is hockey we’re talking about, it should be 110 percent): We have written little or (in my case) nothing about Marcus Nilson, and it’s an oversight. Frankly, it’s been pretty time consuming to pour over the Russian sports press daily and figure out what has been going on with both the birth of a new league and the fractious relationship that league has with the NHL. Those are two major topics; they may concern individuals, but they are connected with very large issues. In Nilson’s case, it’s more about this individual player, so I’ve regrettably let him slip past and I’ll try to keep a lookout for news on him from now on.

As for what the Flames can do with his contract, it just can’t be scrapped. He has to be bought out or traded or assigned to the AHL. I don’t know for certain but I suspect they tried to trade him (that’s sometimes why teams put players on waivers, so see if anyone is interested) and had no interest.

Can he sign with CSKA? The short answer is no — because he has a year remaining on his Flames contract. And since the KHL has instituted a moratorium on signing players who are under contract with NHL teams, they won’t do that (unless they feel the NHL has been signing KHL players again, in which case they will drop their moratorium).

Nor can the Flames trade or sell him to CSKA. There are no mechanisms for that at this time and the NHL is not in favor of club to club dealing like that and will strongly oppose that in the negotiations of any future transfer agreement.

In Radulov’s case, the KHL says they had no formal moratorium in place at the time of the signing, even though Medvedev had said publicly (and privately) that the KHL would not do that. They contend that in the absence of a transfer agreement, they were not bound to honor the NHL contract when Radulov was signed. That’s the essence of the discrepancy that has to be decided.

If Nilson doesn’t report, I suspect he’ll be suspended, but unlike Radulov it doesn’t seem as if he’ll have a place to play. I’ve read where Sutter would like him to report and fight for a job in camp. It’s probably in Nilson’s best interests to do so.

Thanks for the comment and question. We’ll keep an eye out for news on Nilson."


i think right now it's a nothing story. nilson will probably not show up to camp, be suspended and informally retire (at least for the year). potentially, however, it will get effin' interesting....


in other news:

the baby flames land in calgary today, play golf tomorrow, fitness test friday and start practicing saturday morning at the 'dome....

the preseason is just around the corner... !


Kent W. said...

Wow, thanks for doing the leg work on the this story.

walkinvisible said...

it seemed like you, me, and shep were the only people on the planet tuned in to this particular issue.... and i thought the slapshot guys would have an opinion, with all the reporting they've done about radulov....

shep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shep said...

a swedish journalist writes this in his blog: "Yes, its off to CSKA Moscow for Marcus Nilson.
Calgary released Nilson, so now theres three Swedes playing for the classic moscow club."

is it even possible? can the flames void his contract? whatever, if its true, thats 1 million off the cap.

shep said...

now there's an article too: link

(through google translate of course)

ngthagg said...

Wow, what a freakin' mess. It's one thing to make poor hockey decisions as a GM (ie, signing certain veteran players for more than a year), but it's another thing to make bad business decisions (ie, setting yourself up to be in violation of contract).

The fact that our only hope is for a white knight team to swoop in and basically buy up our excess salary makes it even worse.