Sep 22: The Jets have officially announced that Berdin will play for SKA, but confirmed that he will return to North America when the 2020-21 season begins.
Sep 15: With the start of the AHL season still completely up in the air many teams have loaned out prospects around the world to keep them playing and developing. Most of those loans have a clock on them though as the prospects are expected back in North America to compete for jobs whenever training camp finally happens.
That might not be the case with Winnipeg Jets goaltending prospect Mikhail Berdin, whose KHL rights were traded today from Sochi to SKA St. Petersburg. The latter team announced that Berdin will soon sign a contract for the entire 2020-21 season, which would suggest that he isn’t returning to North America anytime soon.
While that may be a fine development for some who want playing time and consistency this season, but in Berdin’s case it brings up another issue. The 22-year-old goaltender is heading into his final season under contract with the Jets, meaning as a restricted free agent next offseason he could potentially remain in the KHL.
Though the Jets have their starting NHL goaltender locked up for the next several seasons, Berdin represents a potential future option should his strong play continue. The sixth-round pick put up a .910 save percentage in 42 games for the Manitoba Moose this season after an excellent rookie year in 2018-19. If he decided to stay in Russia past the upcoming season the Jets could still retain his NHL rights by issuing him a qualifying offer, but it’s hard to think they wouldn’t rather have him playing for their organization instead.