Russia is Becoming a Problem for the NHL and Its Players

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Russia is Becoming a Problem for the NHL and Its Players

Chicago Blackhawks

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has put pressure on Russian athletes all over the globe. Their hockey teams have been barred from using the Russian flag or national anthem during international events and individuals have been banned from competing in events like Wimbledon.

But news surrounding NHL players is becoming increasingly disturbing on the even of the NHL draft, a time during which NHL organizations are pondering the addition of young Russian players to their club.

If you haven’t heard by now, a 25-year-old goaltending prospect named Ivan Fedotov was recently detained on a remote military base in northern Russia. Fedotov planned to move to the US to pursue a role in the NHL. He was drafted by the Flyers in the seventh round in 2015 and played for CSKA Moscow in the KHL last year.

Fedotov was the Russians’ starting goalie at the Beijing Olympics in February; they won the silver medal. And he led CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup as KHL champions this past season. He’s considered one of the top European goaltending prospects.

Now, his future is unknown.

Russia is pressuring players to perform military service, and some NHL players are now being investigated regarding the potential use of fraudulent IDs to get out of that service. One of the big names involved in the situation is Minnesota Wild star forward Kirill Kaprisov, and news regarding his immediate future on Wednesday is disturbing.

Russian-born prospects, including Gleb Trikozov, will now bear the burden of increased pressure on teams to do their due diligence regarding their availability before tomorrow’s start of the NHL Draft.

The only Russian-born player currently in the Blackhawks’ system is forward Andrei Altybarmakyan, who is currently a restricted free agent. Last year the Blackhawks drafted center Ilya Safonov, who played in the KHL last season.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab