Ivan Nalimov could stay with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The goaltender asked for his rights to be traded in June after he believed he was no longer in the team’s future plans. But his agent, Shumi Babaev, told Scott Powers of The Athletic on Monday that the two sides have agreed his client will play one more season in the KHL before coming to the NHL.
Babaev said they’re “on the same page” with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman and that Nalimov making the NHL is the top priority.
Nalimov, who turns 24 in six days, is on a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star in the KHL after playing with Ufa Salavat Yulaev and Vladivostok Admiral this past season. His .938 save percentage in 23 games ranked third in the KHL.
Chicago drafted the 6-foot-4, 209-pound goalie in the sixth round in 2014. The Hawks have retained Nalimov’s rights passed the two-year window established by the 2013 player transfer agreement because the KHL didn’t agree to it. The agreement extends to nearly every prominent hockey federation in Europe for how the league handles draft rights. The KHL and NHL agreed to a different one that allows Russians playing in the KHL to continue doing so without their draft rights elapsing.
Where exactly Nalimov fits into Chicago’s plans is unknown.
The Hawks have five goalies including Corey Crawford, Cam Ward, Anton Forsberg, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen. Crawford and Lankinen are signed through 2020, while Delia and Forsberg are set to become restricted free agents after next season and Ward an unrestricted free agent.
Chicago also has two other goalie prospects in 2016 third-rounder Wouter Peeters and 2018 sixth-rounder Alexis Gravel. Peeters is set to play in his second USHL season with Youngstown and Gravel will suit up for Halifax in the QMJHL.