Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, Minnesota Wild fans. A Russian prospect has re-signed in the KHL before he participates in an international tournament. Marat Khusnutdinov has signed a new deal with SKA St. Petersburg that will keep him under contract through 2023-24, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.
Khusnutdinov, 19, was the 37th overall pick in 2020 and looked to be developing quite well in the KHL. As Russo points out, his ice time was slashed recently, which is often a tactic used against young players that are considering leaving for North America. Instead of signing with the Wild this summer, he’ll stay overseas for at least two more seasons, where the team has no control over his development or playing time.
This case isn’t quite as drastic as what happened with Kirill Kaprizov, given Khusnutdinov will only be 21 when this contract ends, but there’s no guarantee he signs at that point either. The young forward is about to take part in his second World Juniors–on North American ice–where he should star once again. In 29 KHL games this season he has four goals and 11 points.
Because the NHL and KHL do not have a transfer agreement, Minnesota will retain Khusnutdinov’s draft rights indefinitely. The two leagues do respect each other’s contracts though, meaning the Wild will have to wait until this one expires to ink him to an entry-level deal. There are mechanisms (namely player-driven buyouts) to break a KHL contract, though that is unlikely with such a young player.