KHL team fails to honor contracts, all players now free agents

Last week, we brought you the bizarre tale of Dynamo Moscow, the venerable Kontinental Hockey League franchise that amassed an incredible amount of debt, saw its parent company fire the team’s president and take over the team, and then declared it wasn’t responsible for those financial obligations – which included the current player contracts.

Which they stopped paying.

So the KHL had a decision to make: Keep those players on the roster and run the risk of Dynamo shutting down operations of its hockey team next season, or grant those players instant free agency, which creates its own set of problems.

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On July 4, the KHL Disciplinary Committee, working with the Joint Disciplinary Board of the Russian Hockey Federation and the Kontinental Hockey League, celebrated Independence Day (U.S.!) by declaring the following:

As a result of HC Dynamo Moscow’s failure to honor its contractual obligations, no fewer than 42 players who were under contract with the club, or in receipt of a concrete offer from the club, have had their agreements with Dynamo annulled and have therefore been assigned Unrestricted Free Agent status.

According to reports, the players haven’t been paid by Dynamo for three months.

Dmitry Ponomarenko of SovSport says the current status between the players and their former franchise is “in a nutshell, no one owes nothing.” The players can resign with the team for their former salary or an adjustment to that salary, higher or lower. Or they can seek out employment with another KHL club.

Some players are already cutting deals to return to Dynamo, while others are seeking other offers to either leverage Dynamo or find new homes.

For example, star veteran goalie Alexander Eremenko, 37, has already committed to returning to Dynamo. Defenseman Mat Robinson, a Canadian who has played with Dynamo for three seasons, might be headed to CSKA.

Read more on the background of this wacky story here.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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