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Kirill Petrov Stays with Ak Bars, NHL Rights Stay with Islanders

Kirill the First says "nyet," which is short for "Not yet."
Kirill the First says "nyet," which is short for "Not yet."

To clear up some confusion from this morning's discussion of Kirill Petrov's contract extension with Ak Bars Kazan (initially reported this morning by Dmitri Chesnokov, and officially stated on Kazan's official site): The New York Islanders still retain the 22-year-old's NHL rights.

Petrov has decided to take what is certainly more money and pro job assurance than can be offered by the Islanders under the Entry Level Contract (ELC) system -- where a two-way contract would mean an NHL salary under $1 million and an AHL salary well under $100k -- but that doesn't mean he can jump to another NHL team if and when he decides to jump the pond. With no KHL-NHL transfer agreement in place Petrov is technically a "defected" player, but in simpler terms the rules of unrestricted free agency apply and he's a long way off from that -- unless the next CBA dramatically lowers the age (unlikely), currently set at 27.

On that note, if Petrov's KHL extension is indeed for two years, then he'll be 24 or older before he signs an NHL deal, which under the expiring CBA for a player of his profile (drafted from Europe) would mean a one-year contract still subject to the ELC limitations. Note the one-year contract that Canadiens defenseman and fellow Ak Bars property Alexei Emelin signed last summer at age 25, finally coming over after being drafted in 2004.

Finally, as for rationale for Petrov's decision (besides money and a better guarantee of a top-league job, obviously), Chris Botta had this after speaking with his North American agent:

The #Isles very much want Petrov to come to North America this season but [he received strong offers in the KHL] ... His mother remains very ill and he wants to be able to stay close to her. Petrov is also a bit scared off by the uncertainty of negotiations this summer for a new CBA for the NHL.

With that in mind, I leave you with Ak Bars' birthday wishes for Petrov when he turned 22 last month:

We congratulate you with all our hearts and wish you a strong health, new sport victories, further success in your work and love of closest relatives!

Doh! Should've sent him a birthday card ...

... maybe send him one from Brooklyn Queens [your name here] Arena next time?