With the potential NHL lockout coming for the 2020 season, some teams in the KHL are already preparing for players to come over and participate in their league.
There has been a lot of speculation around whether or not the NHL will be undergoing a lockout to start the 2020 season.
The last lockout took place in the 2012/2013 playing year, and before there was an agreement that ended the lockout, a lot of the players from the NHL traveled overseas to play in the KHL. This time around, it looks like some teams from the KHL are already planning for that to happen again.
#KHL: CSKA Moscow have reported acquired the rights to Sebastian Aho (Carolina), David Pastrňák (Boston), and Joel Armia (Montreal) from Severstal Cherepovets for cash. Definitely a move looking ahead to a potential NHL lockout in 2020.— Patrick C (@ChunkletsHockey) December 27, 2018
Conway also reports that the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team acquired the rights for Colorado Avalanche forward, Mikko Rantanen. Which shows that this could continue with a lot of the other big-name players in the NHL.
Although these are just European players that are having their rights acquired by KHL teams so far. It might not be before too long before a North American player's rights are acquired by a team in the KHL as well.
If there was another lockout, the players would be eligible to play for any league, but the KHL is thought of the next biggest professional league second to the NHL. Which is why it's likely that a lot of the players would look at playing in that league first.
The teams in the KHL like Lokomotiv and CSKA Moscow are clearly not leaving any uncertainty about wanting to capitalize on a potential lockout. Those teams would gain a massive profit if they were able to showcase NHL players in their home country to their fans, which is why these are likely the first of many transactions that we will see over the next year or so.
The rights for the European players in the NHL will likely be the first wave of rights to be acquired, just because their rights will likely cost less than the North American player's rights will.
But, if this time next year the NHL and NHLPA don't have an agreement in place to avoid a lockout in 2020. Then, we could see a flurry of rights being acquired by teams in the KHL, preparing for those players to enter their league once a work-stoppage occurs.
What This Means
It's likely that these are just the first of many players that will have their rights acquired by teams overseas. Over the next year or so, there may be a massive amount of players who have their rights acquired in preparation of the upcoming lockout.
This would likely put a lot of pressure put on the NHL and NHLPA to work towards a deal that would eliminate the possibility of a lockout. One thing is for sure, that the KHL has no problem attempting to plan for a lockout that would benefit their league by a large amount.