Usually, a team’s reserve list is limited to young prospects, waiting to sign their first entry-level contract in the years following their draft. Sometimes though, because of the lack of transfer agreement between the NHL and certain other leagues (the KHL and NL most notably), a reserve list also includes a player that is no longer considered a prospect. The rights of these players are held indefinitely if they never attempt a career in North America, and one example is Andrei Svetlakov.
Selected by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round in 2017, when he was already an overage prospect, Svetlakov remains on the team’s reserve list, with his exclusive rights wrapped up forever. Now 26, Svetlakov has never attempted a North American run, despite plenty of success at the KHL level. That is only going to continue, as the veteran forward has signed a new two-year contract, staying with CSKA in the KHL.
A two-time winner of the Gagarin Cup as a member of the powerhouse CSKA program, Svetlakov was a strong contributor in this year’s playoffs with four goals and nine points in 22 games. Though not usually much of an offensive weapon, he has nevertheless been a reliable two-way option, receiving somewhere between 14 and 16 minutes a night. At this point, an NHL career seems extremely unlikely. If it never happens, he’ll stay on the Wild reserve list until retirement–but he isn’t alone in that category.
The Wild also have 35-year-old Julian Walker on their reserve list, selected in the sixth round of the 2006 draft. He’s spent his entire career in Switzerland and is still signed through next season.