The Gagarin Cup has been awarded to Avangard Omsk for the first time in franchise history, defeating CSKA 1-0 in the deciding game six. While the championship obviously doesn’t have a direct impact on the NHL, it signals the end of the KHL season for several interesting prospects that could end up in North America shortly.
Klim Kostin, the 21-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect who just lifted the trophy, is expected to come over and rejoin his NHL team as soon as possible, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kostin is already under contract with the Blues and was just on loan to the KHL.
Max Shalunov is a different story, as he would need to sign a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. Originally drafted way back in 2011, the 28-year-old Shalunov’s draft rights never did expire because he never signed an NHL contract. The KHL and NHL do not have an official transfer agreement, so KHL draft rights are held indefinitely. The veteran winger has been a strong performer for years in Russia and could be a nice addition to the Blackhawks organization if they can get him to finally sign.
Yegor Chinakhov, the youngest of the three most notable players involved in the final, was just selected 21st overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. A decision will now be made by the 20-year-old forward whether to sign his entry-level deal or stay in Russia a while longer.
The win was also an impressive achievement for Bob Hartley, who now has a Gagarin Cup, a Stanley Cup, a Calder Cup, an NLA title, a QMJHL championship, and a CJHL championship as a head coach. Quite the resume for the veteran coach, who was last in the NHL during the 2015-16 season with the Calgary Flames.