The Chicago Blackhawks have retained the rights to all their 2014 draft picks following the passing of the June 1 signing deadline. While there was word that Chicago might lose its rights to goaltender Ivan Nalimov, the lack of a player transfer agreement between the NHL and the KHL keeps him under the Hawks' control.
Nalimov, 21, was selected by Chicago with the No. 179 overall pick in 2014. He spent the past three seasons playing for Admiral Vladivostok in the KHL and recently signed a contract extension with the team.
Most players who turn 20 by September 15 of their draft year need to be signed within two years of being drafted, but those rules do not apply to Russian players. In 2013, the NHL signed player transfer agreements with nearly every prominent hockey federation in Europe that outlined rules for how the league would handle things like draft rights. However, the KHL has refused to sign that agreement and instead has a different one with the NHL that has a different set of rules.
As a result, the draft rights of Nalimov -- like other Russians playing in the KHL -- won't elapse as long as he continues playing there and there are no changes in the relationship between the NHL and KHL. It's a complicated situation, to be sure, and one that could change in the future. For now, however, Nalimov remains Chicago's hockey property if he ever wants to make the NHL leap (although it's unclear if he'll ever be good enough for that).
The Blackhawks have nine prospects -- all still unsigned -- from the 2014 class: Nick Schmaltz, Matheson Iacopelli, Beau Starrett, Fredrik Olofsson, Luc Snuggerud, Andreas Soderberg, Dylan Sikura, Nalimov and Jack Ramsey.
The rights for Schmaltz, Iacopelli, Starrett, Olofsson, Snuggerrud, Sikura and Ramsey are retained because they're all playing college hockey. The rights for Soderberg run through June 1, 2018 because his official draft age was below 20, which gives the Hawks four years to sign him instead of the two for players over age 20.
Chicago has drafted a lot of goalies with low picks in recent years (Nalimov, Mac Carruth, Johan Mattsson, Brandon Whitney, Matt Tomkins) but they're still searching for the next big thing at the position. It's a good thing the team uncovered players like Antti Raanta and Scott Darling as undrafted free agents to help fill out the depth, although Nalimov remains a wild card for the future.
(Special thanks to Corey Pronman for providing information for this post)