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Sabres anticipate fight for Zadorov's rights if they try to send him to juniors

Nikita Zadorov remains in limbo and was scratched for the 10th time in 11 games tonight. The 19-year-old defenseman is eligible to return to London of the Ontario Hockey League, but Sabres General Manager Tim Murray anticipates a fight if that happens.

Zadorov’s agent, Rolland Hedges, would like his client to play at home in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, where St. Petersburg possesses his rights. The NHL, however, says Zadorov can play only for the Sabres or in the Canadian Hockey League. The defenseman and his KHL team may not sign off on a transfer to juniors.

“Is that part of the reason he’s here? Yes,” Murray said on his radio show on WGR-AM 550. “The only option if we don’t want him here is to send him to London. If we do that, does it become a long, drawn-out affair or is it a cut-and-dry thing? We’re not sure about that.

“If he decides not to go or the transfer agreement is not signed by the KHL team and him, I’m sure that the CHL will say, ‘He’s our property,’ and then there’s going to have to be some type of agreement come to between the KHL and the CHL. I’m sure that the CHL will involve the” International Ice Hockey Federation “in that.”

In the meantime, Zadorov is free to play for Buffalo whenever Nolan sees fit.

“He’s available to play every night,” Murray told WGR. “That’s up to the coaches. I’m not going to walk down to their room and tell them, ‘You have to play 51 tonight.’ That’s not my job.”

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