Forgoing Manchester to play in Russia may cause the Kings to suspend their contracts.
A few days ago, Rich Hammond of the LA Kings Insider discussed a hypothetical situation like this with legal affairs guru Jeff Solomon:
I asked Solomon what would happen if — completely hypothetically — Voynov was loaned to Manchester but wanted to play in Europe instead. He said he was pretty sure that Voynov (or any such player) would be breaching his contract, but admitted that it would be uncharted waters.
This made me think that the Kings would be very unhappy with Loktionov's decision, though they probably wouldn't do anything about it (a valuable asset is a valuable asset). However, while I was searching through Russian articles, I found this quote which indicates that he first secured the Kings' permission.
Q: Los Angeles sent Loktionov to their farm club in the AHL. How did you solve this issue?
A: With the help of his agent, Igor Larionov, who spoke with the Kings' managers. On Sunday night, Loktionov arrives in Russia. [Sport.ru, 9/17/12]
If that's true--and we haven't gotten any official word on this--it's a pretty good deal for Lokti. He can earn far more money playing in the KHL than for the Monarchs, while still keeping a good relationship with the Kings.
So what about Voynov?
Provisional deal with Traktor Chelyabinsk
On September 14th, it looked like a sure thing that Voynov was heading back to play in his hometown. The Kings issued a list of 14 players assigned to Manchester, and he wasn't on it. It was announced that Voynov had reached a short-term, provisional deal to play for Traktor in the KHL if he wasn't sent down.
Traktor was the team where he'd gotten his start, and they were eager to take the Cup-winning defenseman back into the fold. Everything looked set.
Then the Kings assigned him to Manchester just moments before the deadline on the 15th.
The delay seems to have been caused by doubt over his eligibility to play in the AHL. Ian Clark writes, "Early indications were that Voynov would not be able to play in Manchester because he was not on the "clear day" roster last season but that is not the case."
Voynov has been a good soldier for many years, but I'm sure he'd rather spend the lockout making more money playing at home. So the question is, if it's true they are allowing Loktionov to go over, would they do the same for him? Or do they want to keep their top-4 d-man close by?
We'll have to wait and see how this unfolds. Either way, we'll be keeping tabs on both him and the future roster of the Monarchs.