With the summer waning down and free agent frenzy come and gone, a last-minute player has come into the UFA fold.
In July, Russian forward Danis Zaripov tested positive for banned substances and was suspended by the IIHF for two years. Zaripov, who told Reuters news agency “I’m shocked”, has now begun the process to appeal. After his ban, Zaripov’s KHL team, Ak Bars Kazan, voided his contract. The 36-year-old is now eligible to play in the NHL and according to several sources, expected to become a UFA. NHL teams who have shown interest include the Vegas Golden Knights and New York Rangers.
According to an NHL release, there were several factors that had them rule in Zaripov’s favor. First, the substance that got him in trouble, pseudoephedrine, is not on the League’s Prohibited Substances List. Second, there were a number of procedural irregularities in the adjudication process that may have resulted in prejudicing the Player’s case. Finally, Zaripov has never tested positive for a prohibited substance during his 20 years playing professional hockey.
Zaripov has considerable Russian national team experience and has played many times with the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, Dmitry Orlov, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Zaripov has won three World Championship gold medals.