The KHL will only accept the top stars of the NHL in the event of a lockout, the Russian-based league announced on Tuesday.
The KHL published a list of stringent criteria that restricts which players from North America can continue getting ice time in Eastern Europe if the deadlock over players' salaries is not resolved.
The requirements are in place "to allow for the arrival of only top-level players to the KHL," league vice-president Vladimir Shalaev said.
Each KHL team can sign a maximum of three NHL players.
Those players must meet at least one of the following criteria: to have played 150 games in the last three seasons; to have KHL experience; to have appeared in one of the last two world championships or Olympic Games; to be a Stanley Cup winner or finalist; or to be an MVP or similar laureate.
The North American league's collective contract with the players' association is due to expire Saturday, and with no replacement in place, the scene is set for a 2004-style lockout.