According to Russian Hockey Digest
, President Vladislav Tretiak and the Russian Hockey Federation have agreed to the IIHF-NHL Transfer Agreement. TSN in Canada is also reporting a signing will come on June 16. Such a signing would pave the way for prospects such as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin to come to North America this summer.
The Lightning currently have 10 prospects in Russia:
[url=dimitri-bezrukov]Dimitri Bezrukov[/url]|LW|6.03|195|Nizhny-Novgorod (RUS2)
[/url]|C|6.03|200|Irtysh Pavlodar (RUS3)
Under the current agreement, the Lightning will have to make decisions on all 10 next summer as all were drafted in 2003 or earlier.
Included among the virtual locks to go unsigned are the infamous Siberian trio of Bezrukov, Smolianinov, and Solarev that then Tampa Bay GM Rick Dudley drafted at the end of the 2001 draft. Dudley made a late trade to acquire the picks to draft these three, whom he claimed to find at a remote tournament in Siberia in which he was the only NHL representative in attendance. Seeing as all three are below the Russian Super League level five years after that tournament, perhaps there was a reason Dudley was the only NHL scout/GM there.
Of the 10 current Russian Lightning prospects, five were drafted by Dudley. One, Anton But, was acquired in a trade by Dudley from New Jersey with Sascha Goc and Josef Boumedienne for Andrei Zyuzin. Those drafted by current GM Jay Feaster include Kazionov, Koshechkin, Glukhov, and Vishnyakov, all of whom are in the RSL.