Slava Voynov will still be suspended for an entire season, but a neutral arbitrator has ruled that he has already served 41 games of that ban. Voynov will now be eligible to return to NHL play at the mid-point of the 2019-20 season after the ruling from arbitrator Shyam Das. The league issued this statement:
We have reviewed Arbitrator Das’ opinion in the NHLPA’s appeal of Vyacheslav Voynov’s suspension for domestic assault, which upheld the Commissioner’s imposition of a one-season (one-year) suspension for Voynov’s off-ice conduct in October 2014. In his decision, Arbitrator Das confirmed that there was substantial evidence to support each of the Commissioner’s material factual findings as well as the quantum of discipline imposed. Arbitrator Das described his decision to grant Mr. Voynov some ’credit for time served’ for a portion of the 2018-19 season as being due to various ’highly unusual faces and circumstances [which] were not contemplated by the drafters of [the CBA] and do not easily fit into its procedures.’ While we do not believe Mr. Voynov was entitled to any ’credit’ for time missed during the 2018-19 season, we accept Arbitrator Das’ conclusion that the precise factual context here was unusual—including the fact that Voynov has not played in the NHL since October 2014, and that he did not play professional hockey at all during the 2018-19 season.
Taken in its totality, we are satisfied that Arbitrator Das’ decision supports our strongly held views that the conduct engaged in by Mr. Voynov in this case was completely unacceptable and worthy of significant League-imposed discipline. The decision also confirms and reaffirms the Commissioner’s braod authority under the CBA and applicable League Rules to establish—and to enforce—appropriate standards of conduct for individuals involved in the National Hockey League.
Currently, the Los Angeles Kings hold the rights to Voynov and would be the only team allowed to sign him. That won’t be happening however, as Los Angeles announced that he will “not be playing for the Kings.” That means in order for him to play this season the Kings would either have to trade his rights or complete a sign-and-trade with another team. Whether they will be open to that is unclear.
In 2014, Voynov was arrested following a domestic violence incident and spent nearly two months in jail after pleading no contest. He was suspended indefinitely by the league and returned to Russia to play in the KHL, where he suited up for three years with St. Petersburg SKA. Last summer he petitioned the court to have his conviction dismissed, and started the process for reinstatement to the NHL.
The incident revolved around Voynov and his wife, Marta Varlamova. It has been detailed and examined countless times since the arrest—perhaps most thoroughly by The Athletic’s Katie Strang (subscription required) last June—and will certainly bring about plenty more media speculation now that his name is back in the news.