Report: SKA St. Petersburg president says team is in talks with Datsyuk

Jared Clinton
Pavel Datsyuk (Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Pavel Datsyuk said he wants to make his departure from the NHL as easy as possible for everyone involved, but that might not be limited to those in the Detroit Red Wings’ front office.

According to Sport-Express.ru’s Igor Eronko, SKA president Gennady Timchenko has said the club has already begun negotiations for a deal with Datsyuk, and said he believes St. Petersburg has “a good chance to sign (Datsyuk).” Timchenko’s confidence in signing Datsyuk comes shortly after his agent, Dan Milstein, had to shoot down a report that the veteran center had signed a two-year deal with SKA.

When reports of the contract with SKA surfaced, Milstein told The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan that it was “inaccurate,” and Milstein added that neither he nor Datsyuk had spoken to any teams or any media about the current Red Wings’ future. Milstein has reiterated that numerous times, but reports continue to surface that Datsyuk has at least started potential contract negotiations. Read more

Datsyuk’s agent denies report longtime Red Wing has signed KHL contract

Jared Clinton
Pavel Datsyuk (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Pavel Datsyuk, his agent and Detroit GM Ken Holland have said on several occasions that Datsyuk won’t be coming to a final decision on his future with the Red Wings until after the World Championship, so imagine the surprise when a report surfaced that he had signed a KHL deal.

According to a report from Russian outlet Sportfakt, Datsyuk has agreed to a two-year deal with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg without actually signing on the dotted line. Financial terms were not reported, but Sportfakt said the contract would be signed around the time the World Championship came to a close.

However, shortly after the report surfaced, Datsyuk’s agent Dan Milstein told The Detroit News’ Ted Kulfan that the report was “inaccurate,” saying the Russian center hasn’t spoken with any team or media about his contract status. Milstein reiterated that Datsyuk and the Red Wings are slated to meet in mid-June after Datsyuk comes back from the World Championship where he is captaining the Russian squad and has one goal and eight points in nine games. Read more

Prospect of the Year: meet the best for all 30 NHL teams

Ryan Kennedy
Brock Boeser (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s about that time, folks. The Memorial Cup field has been set, the AHL is into the conference finals and the NCAA champs were crowned long ago. So which players repped their franchises the best? The following list is made up of the prospects I believe had the best seasons for their parent franchises.

These are not necessarily the most NHL-ready players or the top prospects in the organizational pecking order, but these guys had the most success overall (but yeah, a lot of the top guys are here anyway). Factors include individual stats and growth, plus team success – so don’t be surprised to find some North Dakota Fighting Hawks and Brandon Wheat Kings on the list. One more note: any player who is Calder-eligible for the current NHL season does not count – that means no Frankie Vatrano for Boston or Connor Hellebuyck for Winnipeg, as examples.

Let’s get to it:

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Toronto Maple Leafs sign Nikita Zaitsev, but what impact should be expected?

Ryan Kennedy
Nikita Zaitsev (Photo by Karina Hessland/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs continued to pick up bodies for their rebuild today, signing KHL defenseman Nikita Zaitsev to a one-year deal. This move has been long-rumored, but now that it’s official, the question becomes one of expectation.

Sure, Zaitsev was a top blueliner in the KHL, but does that mean anything for his NHL potential?

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Semyon Varlamov says Avalanche are ‘waiting for Alexander Radulov.’ Can they sign him?

Matt Larkin
Alexander Radulov (Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The NHL off-season has already begun for eliminated NHL teams. Among them are the Colorado Avalanche, and their starting goalie, Semyon Varlamov, has begun some personal free agent recruiting.

The man Varlamov wants in an Avs jersey next year: KHL superstar and former NHLer Alexander Radulov, who reportedly wants to try his hand at the NHL again. Radulov doesn’t have much left to accomplish in his native Russia. He’s a league MVP, a scoring champion and a Gagarin Cup winner. He was alternately tantalizing and frustrating in his two seasons with the Nashville Predators plus a brief return in 2012, so he has unfinished business in the NHL. He has good years left at 29 and, unlike in his previous comeback attempt, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent.

Varlamov, Radulov’s countryman, is home in Russia for the World Championship right now. According to translated quotes from Russian writer Slava Malamud, Varlamov told Russian newspaper Sport Express this week the Avalanche are “waiting for Radulov. He’ll be one of the leaders there.” Varlamov added, “All (Radulov) needs to do is dial Patrick (Roy) and his return will happen. I hope we can win the Cup with him.”

Say we accept that a Radulov signing will happen. Does it make sense?

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Metallurg defeats CSKA in Game 7, wins second Gagarin Cup in three seasons

Jared Clinton
Danis Zaripov (R) and Sergei Mozyakin (L) hoist the Gagarin Cup (Dmitry Golubovich/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Metallurg Magnitogorsk has captured the KHL’s Gagarin Cup for the second time in the past three seasons after downing CSKA Moscow in a back-and-forth, seven-game final.

Throughout the series, it appeared neither team would be able to get or hold an edge. After picking up Game 1, CSKA dropped Game 2 and the two sides traded wins until Games 4 and 5 of the series, which marked the only time in the seven-game set either team won back-to-back games. Three times in the final Magnitogorsk and Moscow went to overtime, and only Game 1 and Game 7 were decided by more than one goal.

In the final game, it was 35-year-old blueliner Chris Lee who was the hero. With seven minutes remaining in the first frame, Lee spotted a streaking Evgeny Timkin and connected with a perfect stretch pass that led to the game’s opening goal and, after CSKA tied the contest in the second frame, it was Lee who scored the game- and Cup-winning goal on a shot from the slot that found its way through traffic and past Moscow goaltender Ilya Sorokin. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Steven Stamkos’ injury won’t scare away free-agent suitors

A rising salary cap could impact free agent negotiations, like those with Steven Stamkos (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Steven Stamkos’ recent vascular surgery comes as a blow to the Tampa Bay Lightning entering the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. With a recovery time frame of one-to-three months, the 26-year-old might not return in time to help the Bolts in the post-season.

Given Stamkos’ UFA eligibility in July, his lengthy convalescence creates more uncertainty over his future. The Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly suggests Stamkos may have played his final game in a Lightning jersey.

TSN’s Gary Lawless doesn’t expect Stamkos’ surgery will scare away free-agent suitors or reduce what could be his expensive asking price. It’s expected he’ll make a full recovery from the procedure. Lawless wonders, however, if this will have an effect upon Stamkos’ future plans, and those of the Lightning.

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Report: Radulov won’t re-sign in KHL, looking at NHL options for 2016-17

Jared Clinton
Alexander Radulov (Sergey Mihailicenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Alexander Radulov’s name has been mentioned nearly every off-season in connection with an NHL return, but the KHL standout and former Nashville Predator may actually be on his way back to North America next season.

According to SovSport.ru, Radulov, who will turn 30 on July 5, has been offered a long-term deal with CSKA Moscow but has turned down the offer in hopes he can find a spot to land in the NHL next season. The news of Radulov’s potential departure comes as CSKA readies for the Gagarin Cup final against Eastern Conference champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk.

Among the teams reportedly interested in Radulov’s services next season are the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and New York Islanders, but there will no doubt be at least a few other teams that at least kick the tires on Radulov, who was a first-round draft pick back in 2004. Read more