The NHL and Russian-based KHL have extended their memorandum of understanding on player contracts for another year, but remain without a formal transfer agreement.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the document signed last week is the exact same one the sides agreed to a year ago.
On Thursday, the KHL sent out a press release saying the memorandum of understanding had been signed.
The two leagues have been without a formal agreement governing player transfers since the KHL came into existence in 2008. The most notable case of a contract being violated came that year when Alex Radulov bolted the Nashville Predators for Ufa in Russia.
Other hockey federations have official agreements with the NHL that would make such a move illegal. Those deals also spell out the amount of compensation the NHL must pay a federation when a prospect moves to North America, among other things.
When news of the original KHL-NHL memorandum surfaced last year, the NHL claimed it didn't signal any significant change in the relationship with its Russian counterpart.
"There's no agreement," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told The Canadian Press in October. "Bill Daly confirmed in writing what our practice has been — namely, we respect their contracts and we expect them to respect ours.
"There's no transfer agreement so we don't have the same relationship with the KHL that we have with the Swedes or the Finns or the Czechs."
On Thursday, the KHL labelled the agreement an "important step forward" for the leagues.
"We believe that the achievement of a consensus on the status of hockey players in both leagues will reflect positively on the broader development of the sport of hockey," KHL President Alexander Medvedev said in a statement.