On July 1, former Capitals forward Stan Galiev announced that he was returning to Russia to play in the KHL. An unrestricted free agent, Galiev cited his frustration with limited NHL playing time, as well as his desire to play in the Olympics, as reasons for the move.
But Wednesday came a development that will undoubtedly frustrate Galiev more, but in a different way. According to Sport Express’s Alexei Shevchenko, Galiev’s KHL rights are owned by Dynamo Moscow and the forward, for now, is stuck in limbo, unable to practice with Dynamo or sign with a new team.
Let me explain.
Dynamo Moscow hasn’t paid its players in at least three months. Its original president, Andrey Safronov, was sacked, and the parent organization, Dynamo Society, has been taking over the team. Dynamo Society has said it’s not responsible for the team’s previous financial obligations, leaving many of the players without wages for a quarter of the year. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, a former member of the team, went to a Vladimir Putin town hall last month, hoping to ask the Russian President about the situation.
Tuesday, major progress was made toward a resolution. According to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski, the KHL allowed 42 players of the Dynamo Moscow organization to become unrestricted free agents.
On July 4, the KHL Disciplinary Committee, working with the Joint Disciplinary Board of the Russian Hockey Federation and the Kontinental Hockey League, celebrated Independence Day (U.S.!) by declaring the following:
“As a result of HC Dynamo Moscow’s failure to honor its contractual obligations, no fewer than 42 players who were under contract with the club, or in receipt of a concrete offer from the club, have had their agreements with Dynamo annulled and have therefore been assigned Unrestricted Free Agent status.”
Sovetsky Sport’s Dmitry Ponomarenko reported that the current iteration of Dynamo Moscow will not make good on the obligations of its predecessor, and that players can choose to either re-sign, adjust their salary, or leave for another KHL club. For instance, goalie Alexander Eremenko has already committed to returning to Dynamo while defenseman Mat Robinson appears to be headed to CSKA.
Then there there are three guys who are in a totally different and even weirder situation. Two young players who were loaned out by Dynamo last year to another KHL team, Gleb Koryagin and Egor Orlov, were returned to the earlier iteration of Dynamo Moscow that no longer exists. Their status was not reviewed by the KHL Disciplinary Committee.
Then there’s Galiev. According to Shevchenko, Galiev’s KHL rights still belong to the old Dynamo. It appears Galiev was a part of Dynamo Moscow’s organization as a youth player. Galiev’s status was not reviewed by the KHL Disciplinary Committee either. As a result, Galiev and the other two players may neither practice with the new Dynamo Moscow, nor move on to another team.
Last week, Galiev was excited about what the future might hold.
“It’s difficult to say right now which team I’ll continue my career with,” Galiev said. “There are some interesting options. Of course it’s important that the club [I end up signing with] be a contender for the Gagarin Cup, but more than anything, the club should be interested in me.
“More than anything, I decided to return to Russia because I want to make it onto the National Team and play in the Olympics,” Galiev continued. “Aside from that, I understood that after five years in Washington’s system, it was time for a change. It’s tough to develop playing on the fourth line and in the AHL.’
Now hopefully this mess gets cleared up quickly and he can move on with his career.
Igor Kleyner contributed to this report.
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