Agent JP Barry of CAA sports tells me almost all of his Russian clients will be playing in the KHL in the event of a lockout and his most profiled client Evgeni Malkin is expected to be among them.
To no surprise, Malkin for the past couple months has been planning to play in the KHL during the lockout with his best friend and former teammate Sergei Gonchar.
Gonchar and Malkin are both close to finalizing a deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk who they played together with in 2004-2005, but Gonchar and most notably Malkin have also been heavily pursued by CSKA of the KHL who’s GM is Sergei Fedorov and owners have deep pockets. A deal though for the two is believed to be closer with Metallurg but nothing is finalized just yet and CSKA is still in play and believed to be offering more money for Malkin as they try to reach an agreement with Mettallurg who own Malkin’s rights.
“Nothing final on Sergei or Evgeni yet, ” Barry said on whether Malkin and Gonchar have picked a KHL club.
The Penguins will obviously be concerned about injuries but the Penguins have fully expected Malkin to play in the KHL if there is a lockout and his KHL contract will have an out clause in it in that he returns to Pittsburgh immediately when the NHL returns. Meanwhile, there is nothing in Malkin’s current NHL contract that prevents him from playing in the KHL.