Sam Weinman of the Journal News has confirmed a report by Larry Brooks in the NY Post that the Rangers are seeking compensation — in the form of an additional pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft — for the loss of 2007 first round draft pick Alexei Cherepanov. Brooks reports that the Rangers believe they are entitled to the 17th pick in the second round of the draft in June, in accordance with a Article 8.3 (b) of the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, which allows for compensatory draft picks to be given to teams who are unable to sign their first round pick. Rangers Assistant General Manager Cam Hope explained the organization’s stance to Brooks:
“The question is with the one parenthetical phrase in Article 8.3 (b) that refers compensation for an unsigned first-round draft pick who is ‘â€¦ again eligible for the Entry Draft or becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent â€¦’,” Rangers assistant GM Cam Hope told The Post.
“That language was inserted to clarify that a team would be owed a compensatory pick even if they were to re-draft that player or sign him as a free agent.
“It seems now as if that phrase is unintentionally precluding the deceased from being included as eligible for compensation. We understand that this is a sensitive issue, but with all due respect to Alexei’s family and his memory, he is technically eligible to be drafted again next year.
“We are not attempting to capitalize on a tragedy, but there would be no question regarding the Rangers’ right to a compensatory pick if Cherepanov had been revived and survived the incident and were on life support.
On the surface, their argument, though somewhat gruesome, seems sound. But Hope’s assertion that Cherepanov “is technically eligible to be drafted again next year” contradicts a ruling on Tuesday, also reported by Brooks, in which an arbiter ruled in favor of the league’s decision to treat unsigned European draft picks as “defected players”, allowing teams to retain their rights for as long as there is no international transfer agreement in place. This is loophole through which the Rangers have been able to retain the rights of 2006 unsigned draft pick David Kveton, who’s currently having a breakout season in the Czech Republic.
As an unsigned European draft pick, had Cherepanov not died, and had he not been signed by the Rangers prior to June 1st, he would have been ruled a “defected player” like Kveton. As such, he would not have been eligible to be re-drafted in June, seemingly invalidating the Rangers’ argument for compensation.
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