I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if Bob Gainey used Mikhail Grabovski as trade bait in a package deal before or during the upcoming 2008 NHL draft. Gainey is in a great position heading into the draft with a very deep prospect pool and enough roster depth at the NHL/AHL levels to have the flexibility to improve his NHL roster heading into the 2008-09 season (100th/centennial celebration year).
Grabovski will not sit in the press box or play in Hamilton next year when a team in the RSL will most likely offer him $1-$1.5 million/year to play in Russia. He is a RFA at the end of this season and earned $ 700,000 this year so a team from the RSL could conceivable make him a better offer to play closer to home in his own language as well.
Let’s be honest, NHL teams will be very hesitant to trade for a player who is comfortably playing in the RSL with no assurances he will return to the NHL in the near future.
There is also the problem with the soon to be implemented Russia labour law which will close the two week notice loophole that gives Russian players the chance to break their contract/employment with their teams.
Anyhow, all this to simply say that there’s more to the Grabovski situation than just sending him back to Hamilton for more playing time………Gainey needs to make a decision before it’s too late!!!