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KHL and FHR Changes Could Affect Devils Prospects Silayev, Gritsyuk

Changes between the FHR and KHL could have major implications on New Jersey Devils prospects.

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New Jersey Devils prospect defenseman Anton Silayev playing in the KHL for HC Torpedo. // Credit: KHL.ru

On Tuesday, a major change between the Russian Hockey Federation (FHR) and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) was announced that could have a significant impact on New Jersey Devils prospects who hail from Russia.

According to Hockey News Hub — who first brought the information to light on the North American side of the pond — the FHR and KHL have mutually agreed to part ways. As our sister site at Montreal Hockey Now put it best, this is the equivalent to the NHL operating under the Hockey Canada umbrella. Essentially, the KHL is now its own organization.

Russia is currently banned from international play due to the invasion of Ukraine, though, that ban only lasts for the Summer 2024 Olympics and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) events through 2025. However, when the ban lifts, the KHL has agreed to honor its players’ contracts signed with foreign clubs and will release them for Olympic and IIHF events.

Other changes implemented will be that the KHL no longer requires an IIHF Transfer Card, and the season will finish a little later in May as opposed to April.

So how does this affect Devils prospects?

For starters, the players who currently play in the KHL whose rights are owned by the Devils are 2024 10th overall pick Anton Silayev, Arseni Gritsyuk, Yegor Zaitsev, Daniil Orlov, and Artyom Barabosha.

Now the good news. It sounds like the players will have a little more freedom.

Why? Because the FHR is run by their chairman, Mikhail Mishustin — otherwise known as Russia’s Prime Minister since January 2020. It’s a classic separation of church and state which is how the KHL has been run since its consummation in 1911.

So, in terms of freedom, it sounds like it will become a little easier for teams to get their top prospects out of Russia. Despite Matvei Michkov recently terminating his contract with SKA St. Petersburg to make the leap to the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers earlier than anticipated, that process was not as simple as it seemed, and should become a bit easier moving forward.

Now, there will be plenty of fans who clamor for players like Silayev or Gritsyuk to make the leap sooner-rather-than-later. Whether this news changes each players outlook on the matter is unknown. However, as it stands there might not be room for either on the NHL roster, and it’s uncertain if either would settle for AHL minutes.

Gritsyuk and his agent have been on the record that the 23-year-old will honor his KHL contract and play through the 2024-25 season before officially joining the Devils organization. Silayev sang the same tune just last week when he explained he felt it was best for his development to play the remaining two years on his contract in the KHL as opposed to leave for North America upon being drafted.

Should things change, however, it sounds like playing on this side of the pond is now a more easily attainable option. The same can be said for Zaitsev, Orlov, or Barabosha.

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