Artyukhin saga takes another step
Mark Gandler, agent for big Russian Evgeny Artyukhin, said his client has signed a Lightning contract and sent Tampa Bay the document for it to be finalized. Gandler said he also has sent to the Lightning his client's expired contract from the Central Army team in Russia. Gandler has said the NHL, because it does not have a transfer agreement with Russia, needs the document to prove Artyukhin is not under contract in his homeland.
Gandler said Monday that the NHL originally wanted a note from Russia's Continental League, "But the league refused to give us the note. I don't know what game they are playing. The NHL told us the expired contract was good enough."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed in an e-mail the expired contract would be "sufficient as proof."
It as unclear how quickly the two-year, $1.9-million deal that will pay $900,000 next season, will be finalized. Owner Oren Koules said he has yet to see the document. It also has to be registered with the league. Even so, it seems getting Artyukhin, 6-feet-5, 254-pounds, in a Lightning uniform for the first time since 2005-06 has gotten one step closer.
"Basically, I feel relieved," Gandler said of the two-year process to get Artyukhin back with Tampa Bay. "But I want to see that no new issues come up from the league. Once they have the good news from the league and (the Lightning) signs the contract, then I'll know it's done and feel great."