Ivan Nalimov

Blackhawks Prospect Ivan Nalimov Leaving KHL For North America

The KHL regular season has come to a close. With it, teams that did not qualify for the playoffs have started making personnel decisions. On Monday, Dinamo Riga announced multiple contract terminations including one intriguing name for the Blackhawks.

Ivan Nalimov, 26, was originally a sixth round pick (#179 overall) by the Blackhawks in the 2014 NHL Draft. He’s been a fascinating netminder in rumors over the past few years as he’s bounced around the KHL but has never received a contract from the Blackhawks.

A translation of the release says Nalimov was granted an early termination of his contract to “continue his career in the USA.”

Three months ago, this news would have made big waves in Chicago. As the Hawks moved on from Corey Crawford, the competition for the crease was wide open. Indeed, Nalimov waited until the NHL’s return to play plan was finalized and the Blackhawks didn’t make him an offer before he signed with Dinamo in December. He eventually took over the starting role.

Even though the Blackhawks haven’t offered him a contract, they retain his rights.

What makes this intriguing is the timing. The translation of the release indicates there is a specific plan in place.

The news dropped on March 1 – the first day NHL clubs can sign players to contracts that begin in the 2021-22 season.

However, how/where would Nalimov fall into the new depth chart in net for the Blackhawks?

Kevin Lankinen, 25, has clearly taken the top spot and is an early candidate for the Calder Trophy.

Though his performance on Saturday wasn’t great, 27-year-old Malcolm Subban has looked good enough to serve as the back-up. And Collin Delia, 26, has NHL experience as well.

All three are signed through next season as well, and Delia has the largest cap hit at just $1 million.

The Blackhawks may see him as a good netminder who could compete for the job still. They might also see him as a valuable trade asset before the upcoming trade deadline. Or one of the goaltenders they have playing in North America already could become available if Nalimov signs with Chicago.

Whatever the case is, this is an interesting name to keep an eye on in the coming days/weeks.

12 thoughts on “Blackhawks Prospect Ivan Nalimov Leaving KHL For North America

  1. Nalimov was in KHL for last 7 years …there is 1 thing that I don’t Understand
    How come no team want to keep him …?? ..he is at his 8 différent team in KHL in 7 year
    Usaly when you have a ((supposedly )). no 1 goalie…you keep him .
    Maybe the Attitude? I don’t know….but yess we can have a look at him ..

    8 teams in 7 years …hummmm….. 8 ….

  2. Think he’s likely more to help Rfd. goalies this season and if they get more than that, then that great.

  3. I don’t think Subban is a lock to be the backup goalie next year, so anything they can do to increase competition for that spot would be good. If your number 1 got hurt, they would be in a world of trouble having to run Subban out there every game. Maybe his rebound control can still get better, but until it does he is not in any way a potential number one. His main asset is he is cheap.

  4. It’s difficult to assess from afar, but both Nalimov and Kayamov seem to be a tad mercurial or have a touch of that Russian “flakey syndrome”. Hope I’m wrong but I wouldn’t bet a plug nickel on either one of them having a career in the NHL.

  5. EB that Russian”flaky syndrome” is usually attributed to the bottom line, money, like everything else. They come over because Nhl offer contracts their Khl teams can’t offer them. If they come over on an elc and end up Ahl, insread of earning $800,000 or $900,000 a year that salary becomes $70,000 a year or so. Elcs are automatic 2way contracts so don’t have option of earning Nhl salary in minors. So they stay and play in Khl where it is closer to home and earn more money than Ahl pays, hoping in alot of cases that they can come over and go directly to Nhl down the road. It is tough for Bowman or any Gm to guarantee them a spot on Nhl roster and if they are Rfas, giving them an out to go back to Khl forgoes the Nhl teams rfa rights to them. This year was a little different as Nhl season didn’t start on time and players went back to Khl because they weren’t officially cut from Nhl team. If they are good enough to play in Nhl they pretty much all want to come over, you can find a few exceptions of course as is always the case.

  6. Hawks2010, I wonder if the prevailing notion that it was only a matter of time before he came over to North America had teams not signing him to longer contracts?

    If it is an attitude thing, I would think the Hawks would try and trade him (Edmonton calling?) He could sign an AHL deal for this season, like Krutil did, and not eat into his entry-level contract until next season. He is already seasoned enough to be entering his prime years, so IMO it’s the NHL or bust for him, and right now, I would have to see him play to know whether he’s a better option than Lankinen or Subban (or Delia for that matter)

  7. Joe, Nalimov is turning 27 soon, he is in his last year to sign an elc this year. Next season he would be signed to a normal contract.

  8. Joe i take that back, european players have to be 28 yrs old on sept. 15th to sign a normal contract, at 27 they still sign an elc, so a pto or ahl contract would allow an elc next year.

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