Kriukov is under contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl through the 2004-05 season, and the Russians refused to let him out of the deal.
I wonder if they'll be able to get him next summer?
I'm doubtful that we'll see any Russians that are under contract to teams in the Russian Professional League (PHL) coming to North America next season. The PHL encompasses all Russian pro leagues. The problem is that the transfer agreement between the IIHF and the NHL/NHLPA has expired. The IIHF is on record that they will not attempt to negotiate a new transfer agreement until the NHL and NHLPA negotiate a new CBA.
In the past it was simply a matter of getting the player signed before August 15th deadline and paying the specified transfer fee, or paying an additional fee for players signed after August 15th. That was all spelled out in the agreement and clubs/leagues were bound to it. The PHL has long complained that they weren't being adequately compensated and that the NHL was stealing all their top talent. With no transfer agreement in place, they can set their own fee. There's also talk that the Russian Federation won't be a party to the next IIHF transfer agreement. There's a strong anti-North American sentiment in Russian hockey circles. They feel they've been wronged and they're looking to right it by charging exhorbitant fees.
Nikolai Zherdev was signed before the transfer agreement expired and the PHL refused to release him. A couple years ago they stuck Alexander Svitov in the military to circumvent the agreement. They're not an easy group to do business with. I think there's going to be times when the team lucky enough to draft Ovechkin will wish the hadn't.