Originally Posted by SoundAndFury
I've been wondering about this for a while, so here it goes. When Dinamo was created they signed pretty much every Latvian NT player they could. Obviously, most of these left the team already.
Meanwhile a new crop of players - like Klavins, Kenins, Jekimovs - has emerged and are already at the NT level. But it's my impression that DR isn't interested a whole lot in signing them or talented Latvians in general. Chumps like Pavlovs and Ivanans were signed, Ankipans and Nizivijs got their contract extensions meanwhile Kuzmenkovs was let walk. Jekimovs just got signed by the poorest team in Finland while he could easily be playing on the 3rd DR line.
At the end, my question is - are you generally happy with the Dinamo's policy of acquiring players? Wouldn't it be better to shed a huge salary of, for example, Giroux on a few local lads who can play? Results can't get much worse anyway, wouldn't it be better to at least let the Latvians benefit form KHL experience?
Well the situation was different when Dinamo formed. The players there were either experienced veterans from good leagues who knew that Dinamo would be playing home and anyway, if something went wrong, the career was already going towards the end (Ņiživijs, Tribuncovs, Reķis, Laviņš) or young players for whom KHL was a big step up from Belorussian or even Latvian league (Rēdlihs, Dārziņš, Meija, Sotnieks, Bērziņš, Ankipāns, Cipulis). For some guys it was also an ability to grow already as an established player (Kr. Rēdlihs, had played in AHL, Elitserien, DEL before). Then later the guys who let go of their NHL dreams came (Karsums, Sprukts) and it was logical step for them too.
Today the situation with the guys you mentioned is different. Ķēniņš plays in Switzerland from the age of 14, he grew up in ZSC Lions, he's only 22 and still not one of the guys who is very productive there. And his WC experience is 2 tournaments (this will be third), maybe already an established player but not as much the leader as Dārziņš or Rēdlihs were when they joined KHL. He also has a long term contract with ZSC Lions (ends after next season, so then who knows). Dinamo could probably buy it out, at the same time in that case they could also overpay and they don't really do that nowadays. Kļaviņš is still a junior and HK Riga's coach Tambijevs doesn't like him much. His only reputation in men's hockey is 30 games in Elitserien as a junior and he himself probably feels pretty good having received a professional's contract from the team not to think about Dinamo and KHL at the moment. His going to Dinamo at this point would probably be like Nichushkin leaving Traktor for NHL after the draft - good chance that he ends up in junior league (HK Riga) or whatever is the Dinamo's farm club next year, while his reputation as a player is higher in AIK and he could play in Elitserien. With Jekimovs the situation probably is a bit trickier but I bet he might still want to be even better in SM Liiga and only then go to KHL, as at the moment he also isn't really an established NT player yet and not really a ''star'' player at NT level.
Then again there were questions why Riga didn't fight for say Bārtulis or Kulda (or at least one of them, if they had already enough signed d-men) before this season, so this question is valid and some people are concerned. Others though believe that Dinamo should better raise their own talents and should not touch players that are playing good enough in high level leagues (and have been raised in their hockey schools like Kļaviņš who plays in Sweden already a few years or the same about Ķēniņš).
About Kuzmenkovs - he wasn't Dinamo's property so it's understandable why they let him go. He is Liepājas Metalurgs' hockey school kid, so they gave him to HK Riga for a season not to sit him on the bench or play in the 4th line of the main club that plays in Belarus league, and this year they took him back to play in Belarus league where he was good, so no problem there. If Dinamo is interested they can get him for next season. Dinamo Riga still has Jeļisējevs (1994) and Bukarts (1995) if he doesn't leave to go to CHL, so if they also have Kuzmenkovs maybe we will see some of these prospects on ice next year.
Also the problem with Dinamo is that it really cannot outspend an Elitserien or NLA club to buy a player really. Even buying out Jekimovs or Ķēniņš would be overspending for players, so they won't do that. That's why they buy those AHL guys every year cause the AHL guys don't receive that good salaries in the first place. That's why now they sign only in places where they wouldn't overspend and Ivanāns and Pavlovs were probably as cheap as they come... In the past they could just match the players' previous contracts and attract veterans with a chance to play at a similar level at home and give youngsters a chance to play in a much better league. These guys you mentioned are young and all in good leagues, they don't want to go home yet just because it's home and they don't really need the KHL level at this time as much :D :D