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Unsigned NHL prospects ineligible for Stanley Cup Qualifiers

CBA rule allows players to sign entry-level contracts but not be permitted to play this season

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

Kirill Kaprizov, Scott Perunovich, Alexander Romanov and Ilya Sorokin are among the group of prospects who can sign an entry-level contract this season but will not be eligible to play until next season, according to the new NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement.

If any does sign, this season will count toward his entry-level contract even though he won't be eligible to play during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers or Playoffs.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association ratified a four-year extension to the CBA on Friday. It will carry through at least the 2025-26 season.


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Kaprizov, a forward prospect for the Minnesota Wild; Perunovich, a defenseman prospect for the St. Louis Blues; Romanov, a defenseman prospect for the Montreal Canadiens; and Sorokin, a goalie prospect for the New York Islanders, are four of several players whose pending contractual status is impacted by an attachment to the CBA that covers transition rules from the existing CBA to the new version.

Their window to sign with the team that selected them in the NHL Draft will be 53 hours, starting at noon ET July 13 (the third day after CBA goes into effect) and running through 5 p.m. ET on July 15 (the fifth day after CBA goes into effect).

"I guess we'll only have to wait about four or five days to get the answer," New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said of Sorokin possibly signing. "We just got the transition rules as what can be and what cannot be done. We'll certainly speak with representation and see where it takes us. At this point, there's nothing done."

The contract can't include a signing bonus or performance bonus payable this season. It can contain a signing bonus payable next season, as long as it's dated to be paid after the opening of this offseason free agent signing period, which starts following the 2020 NHL Draft (scheduled for Oct. 9-10) and the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final.

"It was just another issue that was on the table and addressed and debated on both sides like anything else," NHLPA special assistant Mathieu Schneider said. "We talked to agents, we talked to players, and it's not something that our staff just sits there and makes a decision on or takes a position on. We do it with a lot of input from a lot of people. That's the same for any of these things that are negotiated in any CBA. But that one in particular, obviously players don't have an extreme view on that, so we rely on agents to bounce those ideas off of."

Kaprizov, Sorokin and Romanov each played for CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League this season. Perunovich won the Hobey Baker Award voted as the top player in NCAA men's ice hockey after his junior season with the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The Wild said they are willing to sign Kaprizov and use the first year of what would be a two-year, entry-level contract. Kaprizov would have to decide if he wants to do that, or if he wants to remain in the KHL.

Kaprizov, a fifth-round pick (No. 135) in the 2015 NHL Draft, led the KHL with 33 goals and was third with 62 points in 57 games this season. The 23-year-old helped Olympics Athletes from Russia win the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, scoring nine points (five goals, four assists) in six games.

"It's just good that we are able to sign him," Wild GM Bill Guerin said. "We are working through that now. It would be unfortunate that we would have to burn a year, but we are willing to do that with a player like him just to get him in the mix. Hopefully we can agree to something shortly."

Romanov, a second-round pick (No. 38) in the 2018 NHL Draft, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract May 8. He was listed on the Canadiens training camp roster, which they released Sunday. The 20-year-old, who had seven assists and was plus-21 in 43 games, is arriving from Russia and will need to quarantine before participating in camp.

Sorokin, a third-round pick (No. 78) by the Islanders in the 2014 NHL Draft, was 26-10-3 with a .935 save percentage, a 1.50 goals-against average and nine shutouts in 40 games this season. The 24-year-old was second in wins, fourth in save percentage, third in GAA and first in shutouts among KHL goalies to play at least 20 games.

Perunovich, a second-round pick (No. 45) in the 2018 NHL Draft, agreed to a two-year, entry-level contract March 27. The 21-year-old was second among NCAA defensemen with 40 points (six goals, 34 assists) in 34 games. He was second in assists among NCAA players, eight behind Vegas Golden Knights forward prospect Jonathan Dugan (Providence), and his 22 power-play points (three goals, 19 assists) were tied with Dugan for the NCAA lead. Perunovich was the first defenseman to lead the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in scoring (32 points; four goals, 28 assists).

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