This is one of those stories that might mean nothing or could have enormous implications down the road.
CSKA Moscow, a team that currently sits atop the KHL’s West Conference, has reportedly made a few interesting moves recently. By the looks of it, they see the opportunity to improve their lineup with some top-notch skill if the NHL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) falls apart in 2020.
CSKA Moscow have reportedly acquired rights for Sebastian Aho, David Pastrnak and Joel Armia. These are all moves made for a potential lockout in 2020.
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) December 27, 2018
It’s believed that the club obtained the rights to these three current NHLers from Severstal Cherepovets for cash.
Back in 2013, a four-month lockout was required for NHL owners and the NHL Player’s Association to agree on the league’s terms and conditions of employment. This CBA is set to expire on September 15, 2022. However, both the NHL and NHLPA have the option to opt-out of the agreement in its eighth year (the start of the 2020-21 season).
CSKA Moscow’s decision is one that’s low risk with the potential for a high reward. In the last 25 years, the NHL has gone through three lockouts, two of which shortened the season to 48 games while the other wiped out an entire campaign.
If the top hockey league in the world isn’t operating, its stars will likely head to the next best option.
Under those circumstances, that would turn CSKA Moscow into quite the squad if the NHLers they’ve acquired the rights to decided to head west. Their current roster already contains a number of talented ex-NHLers such as Mikhail Grigorenko, Jannik Hansen, Nikita Nesterov, Anton Slepyshev, and Linden Vey.
Could you imagine adding Boston’s David Pastrnak (23 goals and 47 points in 37 games so far this season) and Carolina’s Sebastian Aho (38 points in 35 games) to the mix? Even if it was just on a short-term basis, that would really be something.
CSKA Moscow has been one of the most dominant hockey teams on the planet since their inception. With their 33 titles in the history of Russian professional hockey, winning is ingrained in the team’s culture. The organization was last named champions in 2015 and they’ve been second twice in the last three years.
With the potential of these moves in mind, it looks like they’re pulling out all of the stops to lift the Gagarin Cup once again.
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