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Maxim Shalunov still trying to get out of KHL contract early, per report

If he’s successful, a move to the Blackhawks becomes significantly more likely.

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There’s still a small chance that Maxim Shalunov joins the Blackhawks before the 2017 playoffs as his camp works to out of his contract with Sibir Novosibirsk, according to The Athletic’s Scott Powers. That could open the door for Shalunov to potentially play this postseason.

The biggest hurdle for Shalunov to leave the KHL right now is his contract with Sibir, which doesn’t technically expire until April 30. He’s set to become a restricted free agent in that league, and doesn’t want to play for Sibir anymore. So he’s been pushing for a trade to Russian powerhouse CSKA Moscow, with the Blackhawks as another alternative.

But Sibir will still hold his KHL rights this summer, so Shalunov’s camp needs to convince the team to let him go. Ideally, they’d let him get out of the contract soon, which would allow him to possibly join the Blackhawks prior to the start of the playoffs on April 12.

Shalunov, 24, recorded 19 goals and 18 assists in 49 games with Sibir this season. He’s a big (6’4, 212 pounds), talented guy who could become a quality secondary scorer for the Hawks sooner or later. Powers says that the Blackhawks plan to speak with his camp after the trade deadline, so this process could start moving in the near future.