USA Hockey, NHL to blame for denying transfer card for Hudler

Peter Adler, a reporter for the Edmonton Journal, reports via their Cult of Hockey blog that USA Hockey and the NHL are the reasons for the IIHF blocking Jiri Hudler's request for a transfer card. He explains that three groups must sign off their approval for a transfer card to go through -- the new national federation (for Hudler's situation, that's Russia), the outgoing national federation (USA), and the player. Obviously Russia and Hudler have signed off, which leaves USA Hockey to blame. Alder notes that the outgoing national federation typically refers to the "relevant league," which would be the NHL in this case.

As WIM discussed earlier, an unconfirmed report suggests that the KHL may ignore the lack of a card and encourage Hudler to play anyways. Adler's article informs us as to what will happen should Hudler do so and the outcome (in an Olympic year) may discourage such an action.

Without the ITC, Hudler can not play for Dynamo in the KHL and this has nothing to do with an IIHF-sanctioned game. He is free to play with the Czech national team in the upcoming EHT tournament and he could in theory play in the Olympics without any ITC, which refers to club affiliation only.

BUT – if Hudler plays a regular season game in the KHL without an approved ITC, then the player, the national association (RUS) and the club are subject to a catalogue of IIHF suspensions and fines. Dynamo plays its first KHL regular season game on September 11 so there is still time to resolve this issue.

So if that scares off the KHL from allowing Hudler to play, he would only be allowed to return to the Red Wings. Unfortunately, we have no room for his salary under the cap because it appeared to be a done deal that Huds was playing in Russia. This development would put the Wings in an incredibly difficult and sucky situation. Matt at On the Wings succinctly says that "this is crap."

Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated agrees, stating that he bets GM Ken Holland "wishes that these groups weren't working so diligently to make their point with his property."

Fitting Hudler in would require a solution more elegant than burying a couple of veterans in the minors and promoting a couple of minimum wage kids to fill their spots. Holland would have to foist a significant salary on another team and take nothing but picks/prospects in return, and we've all seen how tough those deals have been to make this summer.

Holland's only real option here is to dump Tomas Holmstrom. His $2.25 million hit won't cover Hudler's, but it's close. His contract expires after this season (good for the acquiring side) and he still has a rep as a big-game player, though he's not always as visible from October through April. ...

Holland is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, GMs in the game. Thanks to this latest round of international intrigue, it looks like he's about to get another chance to prove it.

None of us wanted to see Hudler leave to play in Russia, but this isn't how we wanted to keep him in Detroit. (1) You don't want to have a player who wishes he was somewhere else and has stated that. (2) We'll have to move some serious salary, meaning someone that is actually of value to our squad, or we have to trade Hudler for not much in return. I get that the NHL and USA Hockey want to make a point, but at the expense of the Wings? I hope the KHL says bring it on and encourages Hudler to play because I don't want to even think about what will happen to our team if they don't. Things could get messy real quick.

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