As much fun as it has been for hockey fans to see Jaromír Jágr visit the KHL this week, real eyes are on decisions that impact the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are deeply invested in the ongoing negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA to find a way for the league to operate in 2021.
There are many large decisions yet to be made. The Leafs themselves are surely interested in where the team will be playing their home games. They could be a part of an All-Canadian division or they could be forced to play all their games south of the border.
While these important talks continue, competitive hockey is currently being played across Europe. One of those active leagues is the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). It has been the source of an interesting rumour that directly effects the Toronto Maple Leafs. It also recently put the spotlight on future Hockey Hall of Fame player, Jaromír Jágr.
Toronto Maple Leafs Rumour
Jágr flew to Russia to participate in Avangard Omsk’s 70th-anniversary celebration. The Ageless Wonder has a history with the franchise; he played for them in 2004-2005 and from 2008 to 2011. Jágr stuck around to watch his former team beat Ak Bars on Monday. While it’s great to have hockey royalty show up to recognize a milestone, there is more important whispers out of Russia that Leafs fans should pay attention to.
There is a rumour that the Leafs 2020 first-round (15th overall) draft pick Rodion Amirov is negotiating a deal that could see him skating in the KHL until spring of 2023. The news comes from Ufa based hockey insider, Denis Taipov.
Amirov could sign with Salavat Yulaev Ufa but the deal has yet to be finalized. If this were to happen, it would likely mean the young left-winger wouldn’t play in the NHL until the 2023-24 season. He turns 22 in October of 2023.
The Maple Leafs can’t be happy with the extension unless there is an inclusion of a clause that allows Amirov to play in the NHL before the conclusion of the agreement. Amirov doesn’t need to get the Leafs permission until he signs with them. Until that time, the club only owns his NHL rights.
There is a good chance that something gets worked out with the Maple Leafs that allows Amirov to play for HC Salavat. It would help his development to play in the high-end professional league and is likely where they would want him to play until they feel he’s ready to join the Leafs.
Next month Amirov is expected to be playing on Canadian soil. He should be a part of the Russian U20 team at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Alberta. Perhaps by the start of that tournament, we will know more about Amirov’s future plans.