MOSCOW - National Hockey League players Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar have signed with KHL side Metallurg after the NHL imposed a lockout of its players.
Metallurg, based in the Russian industrial city of Magnitogorsk, said in a statement Sunday that it signed the two Russian players through the end of the 2012-13 season.
The NHL formally locked out its players Sunday after the collective bargaining agreement between the sides expired.
Malkin, a 26-year-old centre with the Pittsburgh Penguins, is the NHL's reigning MVP. Gonchar, 38, is a defenceman with the Ottawa Senators.
Although the club provided no further detail of their contracts, it said that they would comply with KHL regulations on signing NHL players during the lockout. Under these rules, KHL teams can sign a maximum of three NHL players above their limit of 25.
The KHL also sets the ceiling for the salaries of NHL players at a maximum of 65 per cent of what they earn under their NHL deals. Malkin has two years and US$16.5 million remaining on his deal with Pittsburgh. Ottawa's Gonchar has one year and $5.5 million left.
Related on HuffPost:
How Much Are Canada's NHL Teams Worth?
Let's face it, hockey is Canada's game. So it's not a surprise that Canada's NHL teams are among the most valuable in the game. <a href="http://www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations/#p_3_s_a0_" target="_hplink">Here's how much they're worth according to Forbes magazine.</a> (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs
The long-suffering Leafs are in Canada's biggest TV and fan market. The Leafs are the league's most valuable team worth $521-million. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
The Montreal Canadiens
The NHL's most successful team, the Montreal Canadiens are worth $445-million. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The Vancouver Canucks
Last year's Stanley Cup runner-up, the Vancouver Canucks are worth $300-million. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
The Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames might be struggling this year but they're still worth $220-million. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The Edmonton Oilers
The Gretzky-fueled glory days are over but the Oilers have a crop of young talent that they hope can be a foundation. The other team from Alberta is worth $212-million. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The Ottawa Senators
The host of this year's All-Star Game, the Ottawa Senators are the other team in hockey-mad Ontario. They're worth $201-million. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
The Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets return to Canada was an emotional one. Canada's 7th NHL team is worth $164-million. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)