Zaripov deemed eligible to sign in NHL despite IIHF doping ban
Alexander Demianchuk / TASS / Getty

Danis Zaripov is free to move to the NHL.

The 36-year-old became available following a two-year ban issued by the International Ice Hockey Federation last month after he tested positive for a banned substance.

While Zaripov is ineligible to continue in the KHL this season, the door appears to be open for him to take his talents to North America.

Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, said in a statement Monday: "Mr. Zaripov has appealed the IIHF suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and his appeal remains pending. In addition to filing such appeal, Mr. Zaripov also applied to the NHL for a separate determination as to his eligibility for play in the NHL, and with regard to what effect, if any, the League was prepared to accord the IIHF Suspension.

"Following due consideration of all of the available evidence, it has been determined that Mr. Zaripov is hereby deemed eligible to sign and play professional hockey in the NHL, effective immediately, and without imposition of any NHL-imposed suspension or penalty."

Daly added that the key to Zaripov's acceptance into the NHL is that the banned substance - pseudoephedrine - is not included on the league's prohibited substances list.

Zaripov spent the past four seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL, which has won two of the past four Gagarin Cups, awarded to the playoff champion. He appeared in 56 games in 2016-17, finishing fourth in team scoring with 45 points.

Zaripov has never played in the NHL, and last skated in North America during the 1998-99 season as a junior with the WHL's Swift Current Broncos.

Zaripov later released a statement through the NHLPA: "I look forward to continuing my professional hockey playing career in North America, and today I am very grateful to the senior management of the NHL for its decision, which provides me the opportunity to do so. Even though I now have a chance to play in the best league in the world, I plan to continue my appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to prove my case and clear my name."

According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the New York Rangers and Vegas Golden Knights are expected to be in the running to sign Zaripov, who is now considered an unrestricted free agent by the NHL.

Zaripov deemed eligible to sign in NHL despite IIHF doping ban
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