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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA Today Sports

Yan Kuznetsov selected by Saint John in CHL Import Draft

A Calgary Flames prospect was selected in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft. Russian-born defensive prospect Yan Kuznetsov was selected by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Saint John Sea Dogs.

Kuznetsov, 19, was a second round pick (50th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft by the Flames. He played two seasons with the University of Connecticut, then signed his entry level deal with the Flames this past March and played a handful of games with the AHL’s Stockton Heat.

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The selection of Kuznetsov by Saint John gives the Flames a lot of flexibility in terms of his development for the 2021-22 season. Since he signed a pro contract, he cannot go back to the NCAA. Kuznetsov’s ELC began in the 2020-21 season and slid that season, so it fully kicks off in 2021-22 regardless of where Kuznetsov plays. (We received clarification regarding Kuznetsov’s contractual status.)

Kuznetsov is eligible to play in the AHL, ECHL or the QMJHL in 2021-22, but once he plays a game in the QMJHL he becomes subject to the CHL transfer rules and wouldn’t be able to go back to the AHL or ECHL until the QMJHL season ends.

If Kuznetsov is pro-ready, he has that option. If he’s not, he can go to a Saint John squad that will have fellow 2020 Flames draft pick Jeremie Poirier and potentially another 2020 pick in Ryan Francis – Francis is eligible to play in the AHL or return to the Sea Dogs as an overage player.

Saint John potentially gets a really promising player for their team, and the Flames and the player get a lot of flexibility in terms of how to manage his development for the upcoming season.

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