PHILADELPHIA -- The "Russian factor" wasn't much of a distraction for a dozen teams this weekend at the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center.
It refers to the consideration made by teams, when drafting a player of Russian decent, of the risk associated with that player deciding to sign and play in the Kontinental Hockey League instead of North America. A team drafting a Russian player who then decides to stay in the KHL effectively has wasted a pick.
But 12 NHL teams drafted a total of 13 Russian-born players in 2014, the most in eight years. The Montreal Canadiens kicked off the Russian resurgence with the selection of right wing Nikita Scherbak of the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League at No. 26 on Friday.