Koshechkin Contract To Be Bought Out?

It was reported today by gazeta.ru that Ak Bars signed ex-Flyers goaltender Robert Esche. It said that Esche will replace Lightning prospect Vasily Koshechkin, whose contract is likely to bought out by the club.

Gazeta.ru is referred to Ak Bars press-cutting service, but this internet media is known for frequently reporting unproven rumors, so it is early to say that Koshechkin will leave Ak Bars for sure.

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It's on russianprospects.com

It's on russianprospects.com too, but they don't say what the source is. Will be interesting to see what happens with Vasily.

Supposing This is All True

If Koshechkin is bought out he has no contractual obligations in Russia, correct?

So, technically, the Lightning could sign him and bring him to North America, true?

I wonder if that's an option Jay Feaster is willing to consider if that's the case.

I saw a report on Spector's

I saw a report on Spector's site yesterday linking Esche to Ak Bars, but I believe the source was a Czech site. So there might be some fact behind this.

Interesting situation.

A Dilemma

Bringing Kosechkin over now will cause the Bolts to have more minor league net minders than there are spots. Ramo is injured, Munce and Boutin are Norfolk's tenders now, and Cey and ? are MS tenders. Once Ramo is back there will be the reshuffling with the better performing of Boutin and Munce staying in Norfolk and the loser going to MS to join Cey. If Kosechkin is signed, I think he would start out in MS due to his lack of North American experience and his less than good play in Russia.

Someone would have to go then, either in a trade or a loan to another ECHL team.

I really doubt you could

I really doubt you could convince Koshechkin to come to North America only to play for an ECHL hockey club.

Cey would be loaned...

If VK comes to N.America, then Cey would be loaned to another AHL/ECHL team. Munce and Boutin would go to the Gulf Coast. A GT combo of VK and Ramo in Norfolk would be brutal. Boutin/Munce backs up VK until Ramo heals.

I Would Have to Disagree

Kosechkin may not want to come here and play in the ECHL. But I think there are several factors which may lead to the conclusion he needs to start there. First, he has not played any North American hockey. The smaller rink size and physicality of the game over here takes adjusting to. Second, he has not played well this year judging by his record. Now, I am not familiar with the competence of the defense playing in front of him in Ak Bars, but looking at his record, he doesn't come here on top of his game. Munce has stepped in and so far is playing very well. I am not one for demoting a player who is doing well unless the player replacing him can do better. And right now, I don't think Kosechkin will do better. Now if Kosechkin starts in the ECHL and elevates his play to what is was before this year, then call him up, but not before then.
Just my opinion.

Which is understandable of

Which is understandable of course, but the fact remains that he'll make way more money in Russia than he would over here in the ECHL or AHL. If he doesn't at least get the chance to immediately challenge for #1 duties in Norfolk with further incentive to make the Lightning, well, from his perspective, I don't see the point in coming over.

I mean, if he was already in NA, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But the fact remains that the ECHL isn't exactly a promising proposition to convince a Euro to come over.

The Reason

I am basing my opinion on the fact he has not done well at all this year using his record as a basis. Ak Bars signing Esche tells me management there was unhappy with Kosechkin's play and not finding fault the defensemen in front of him. His bargaining position to me has diminished because of this. However, you have a good point in that he could simply try to catch on with another RSL team or some other team in Europe. But his best road to financial security lies in North America and hopefully he will realize that he has to pay some dues to get to that position. If he plays well over here, he will be promoted accordingly.

Koshechkin's history

Based on this year alone, the thoughts here are completely understandable. (RSL vs. AHL aside)

However, VK has been a top prospect the last few years and was admirable against NHL talent in the WC's last spring for Russia. He's one of the best GT prospects around.

TB tried to get him over here in the summer and failed. There was some thought that if he were to come over, he'd be thrown into the GT fire in Tampa. While he'd enter with the longest odds, the fact he was in the conversation and put on the same plane as Ramo should be somewhat telling.

Either he's just having an awful streak, or the Kazan skaters are that bad, or it's a combo. He's got us scratching our heads.

IMO, he'd do quite well in the AHL and is much too good for the ECHL. But... we'll see if that's even an option.

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