Maybe Jiri Hudler will be wearing the winged wheel next season after all. Although the young Czech forward signed a two-year pact to play in Russia, National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email that the League has taken the position that Hudler’s election to file for salary arbitration obligates him to play for the Red Wings.
Hudler filed for Salary Arbitration on July 5, which took place prior to him signing with Moscow Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League. This occurred on July 9th. By filing for salary arbitration, a mechanism of his contract, Hudler legally committed himself to the club for at least the following season.
Redwings General Manager Ken Holland voiced little optimism that Hudler will actually play for Detroit, as he knows the situation is out of his hands. “We were notified this morning by the league that it considers Hudler to be a signed player,” Holland said. “Am I optimistic he’ll be back in Detroit? I would say I’m on the sidelines. It’s in the hands of the league. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I don’t want to be pessimistic, either. I plan to talk to the league early next week and get a better feel for what’s going to happen next.”
Now it appears that this is an issue to be decided between the NHL, the KHL and the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Szymon Szemberg, Communications Director for the International Ice Hockey Federation indicated that IIHF is now fully involved in the dispute. “The IIHF has been informed by the NHL about the Jiri Hudler case. Upon, this the IIHF has informed the Russian Ice Hockey Federation about the NHL's position and the case is under investigation.”
The Hudler situation is reminiscent of last summer’s events involving Alexander Radulov, who signed a multi-year agreement with a KHL franchise while he was still under contract with the Nashville Predators. However, the two leagues now seem to enjoy more of an amicable relationship, as both leagues seem to honor each other’s respective player contracts. More to come is this situation develops.
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