Archive for the ‘KHL’ Category

The NHL suspended its dealings with the Russia-based KHL on Monday, a move that could make it more difficult for teams to sign players from there.

The NHL told its teams to cease contact with KHL counterparts and Russia-based agents as part of the suspension of the memorandum of understanding between the leagues. They can continue to communicate with North American agents certified by the NHL Players’ Association but may have more difficulty completing agreements.

Daily Faceoff first reported the NHL cutting cites with the KHL. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the decision in an email to The Associated Press.

It’s the league’s latest move to sever ties with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

In a statement last week, the NHL announced it was suspending relationships with business partners in Russian and pausing Russian-language social and digital media sites — including terminating the NHL’s Russian broadcast agreement.

There are roughly 40 Russia-born players currently in the NHL. The KHL is in the midst of its playoffs, though Finland-based Jokerit withdrew after Russia invade Ukraine.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rodion Amirov has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, general manager Kyle Dubas announced in a statement Wednesday.

“Rodion commenced the 2021-22 season with Salavat Ufa of the KHL but suffered an injury to open the season. During the course of his recovery from this injury, he developed some new, unrelated symptoms that required ongoing extensive investigations over the last few months,” Dubas said.

Amirov is currently at a medical facility in Germany undergoing treatment. The forward, who’s with his family, won’t return to play for the remainder of the campaign.

“He is skating three times per week and working out every day,” Amirov’s agent, Dan Milstein, said in a statement. “Rodion is in good spirits and is determined to return back to professional hockey.”

The Maple Leafs drafted Amirov 15th overall in 2020.

The New York Rangers loaned Vitali Kravtsov to the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk, the club announced.

New York can recall Kravtsov when the ongoing KHL season ends, and he’s amenable to rejoining the NHL team, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

“After discussions with Vitali and his representation, we decided a loan to Traktor was in the best interests of both him and the organization,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said in a statement Wednesday. “We think very highly of Vitali and the Rangers development staff will continue to work with him to reach our mutual goal of him some day being a New York Ranger.”

Kravtsov also focused on the positive.

“I want to thank the Rangers for working with me, and appreciate the open and honest conversations we have had during this process,” he said in his own statement. “While this has been a challenging time for me personally, I believe having the opportunity to return to Traktor and work on my game is the best thing for me right now. My main focus is getting better every day to continue towards my goal of playing hockey for the New York Rangers.”

The Rangers reportedly gave Kravtsov permission to seek a trade on Oct. 12 after the club left him off its roster to begin the season. The forward, who’ll turn 22 next month, was apparently unhappy that he didn’t make the team.

Kravtsov collected two goals and two assists over 20 games as a rookie with New York in the last campaign. He spent parts of five seasons with Traktor before that and played 39 AHL games in 2019-20.

The Rangers drafted the Russian-born forward ninth overall in 2018.

Nikita Gusev is heading back to SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, the league announced Tuesday.

The 29-year-old was recently released from his professional tryout with the Toronto Maple Leafs after recording a pair of assists in three preseason games.

Gusev arrived in the NHL with plenty of hype. He lived up to it in his first campaign, tallying 44 points in 66 games with the New Jersey Devils in 2019-20.

Things took a turn for the worst last season, though, as he only managed four goals and six assists in 31 contests split between the Devils and the Florida Panthers while posting poor underlying metrics.

Gusev was one of the KHL’s most electric players before he headed to North America, racking up 82 points in 62 games in 2018-19 with SKA St. Petersburg.

He also led the Olympic Athletes of Russia to a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, pacing the team with 12 points in six contests.

Gusev was originally a seventh-round pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012.

Former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has signed a one-year deal with the KHL’s Spartak Moscow.

Virtanen spent six seasons in Vancouver after the Canucks selected him sixth overall in 2014. He enjoyed a career year in 2019-20, tallying 18 goals and 18 assists over 69 games. However, he recorded just five points across 38 contests last season.

The 25-year-old was sued for sexual assault in May. The Canucks placed him on leave for the rest of the season before buying out the remainder of his contract in July.

CSKA Moscow of the KHL has announced Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov will not join the club this season, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo.

The Russian outfit reportedly tried to lure Kaprizov, a restricted free agent, back overseas with a contract offer earlier this summer.

A new deal with the Wild isn’t imminent, but conversations between the team and Kaprizov’s representatives have picked up recently, Russo adds.

Kaprizov played three of his six KHL seasons with CSKA Moscow before joining the Wild for a stellar rookie campaign in 2020-21, during which he led Minnesota in scoring and captured the Calder Trophy. Wild general manager Bill Guerin said last week the possibility of Kaprizov returning to the KHL “doesn’t bother me at all.”

Kaprizov, 24, is Minnesota’s sole unsigned restricted free agent. The Wild currently have approximately $13 million in cap space, according to CapFriendly.

Hockey Hall of Famer Sergei Fedorov is taking his talents behind the bench.

The 51-year-old is taking over as head coach of the KHL’s CSKA Moscow, the league announced Wednesday.

Federov has been the team’s general manager since 2012-13.

The 6-foot-2, two-way center was one of his generation’s best players, winning three Stanley Cups, two Selke Trophies, a Hart Trophy, three World Championship gold medals, and a world junior gold medal. His best years came with the Detroit Red Wings, but he also enjoyed stints with the then-Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Washington Capitals.

Mikhail Grigorenko is going back to Russia.

The forward signed a three-year contract with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow on Saturday. He returns to the club with which he played three seasons from 2017 to 2020.

Grigorenko collected four goals and eight assists in 32 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2021. He was a pending unrestricted free agent.

The 27-year-old had his most productive seasons during his previous stint with CSKA. He tallied 19 goals and 22 assists over 47 games in 2019-20. That followed a 17-goal, 35-assist effort across 55 contests the previous campaign.

Grigorenko helped the KHL squad win the Gagarin Cup as league champions in 2018-19, adding 13 goals and eight assists in 20 playoff games. He also helped the team reach the final in 2017-18, notching nine goals and four assists in 21 postseason contests.

The Buffalo Sabres drafted Grigorenko 12th overall in 2012. He played for the Sabres until 2015, when they traded him to the Colorado Avalanche. Grigorenko played with Colorado for two seasons before joining CSKA for his first KHL stint.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed forward Kirill Semyonov from the KHL’s Avangard Omsk to a one-year, entry-level contract for the 2021-22 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Semyonov, 26, recorded 26 points in 60 games this past season, adding nine playoff points as Avangard won the Gagarin Cup. He’s played in the KHL since 2013.

The Maple Leafs have signed numerous KHL free agents over the past few seasons, including Ilya MikheyevAlexander BarabanovMikko Lehtonen, and Nikita Zaitsev.

Ilya Kovalchuk is once again a free agent.

Two days after winning the KHL’s Gagarin Cup, the veteran forward and Avangard Omsk agreed to terminate his contract, the league announced Friday.

Kovalchuk signed a two-year pact with the club in December. He returned to Russia after playing the 2018-19 and 2019-20 NHL seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, and Washington Capitals.

The 38-year-old collected five goals and 12 assists across 16 KHL regular-season games in 2021 before adding four goals and five assists in 24 playoff contests.

Kovalchuk has notched 443 goals and 433 assists in 926 NHL games over 13 campaigns. He’s also spent parts of nine seasons playing in his native Russia.