Around this time last year, Vladimir Sobotka came close to returning to the St. Louis Blues, but in the end the Czech center decided to spend at least one more campaign in the KHL. But with the Blues’ season over and Sobotka having an apparent window to return to the NHL, it looks as though he could actually make the jump back to North America this summer.
During an end of season press conference, which was used in part to announce a one-year contract extension for coach Ken Hitchcock, Blues GM Doug Armstrong said that he has been in consistent contact with Sobotka’s agent over the past two seasons to “find out what’s going on.” And Armstrong, who said he thinks Sobotka will be back, sounds confident the 28-year-old pivot will be wearing a Blues uniform next season.
“I thought he was going to come back — a couple times during the season, we had conversations, he was getting himself out of his KHL deal, they (asked) me if we had room for him and I said we’d make room for him,” Armstrong said. “For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out…I’ve never read his KHL contract. I’ve never seen it. I don’t know what the window is. I’m going on reports that he has a window. If he exercises the window, he’ll be a St. Louis Blue. I’d love to have him back.” Read more
Commissioner Gary Bettman made it clear Monday that former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who was suspended indefinitely by the league following a domestic violence charge, was ineligible to play at the World Cup, but the Russian Hockey Federation is holding out hope the NHL will change its mind.
Russian news outlet TASS reported Tuesday that the RHF “maintains close dialog” with the NHL regarding Voynov’s eligibility and the Russians are hoping that Voynov will be permitted to play at the September tournament. The RHF went so far as to say they’re “holding negotiations” with the league, and IIHF president Rene Fasel has been included in the talks.
“The Russian Ice Hockey Federation hopes that the organizers of the international competition will make a positive decision on the issue and the defender will be allowed to be included in the roster of the Russian national team,” the RHF told TASS. Read more
Given how his past two seasons in the NHL went, it’s no surprise Alexander Semin has elected to remain in the KHL for the 2016-17 season.
According to Russian hockey writer Igor Eronko, Semin has signed a one-year deal with Magnitogorsk where he finished this past season.
Max Talbot is headed overseas after signing with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL. It’s a one-year deal for the 2016-17 season, Talbot’s agent Derek McCann confirmed to THN.
Talbot was set to become an unrestricted free agent with his five-year, $9 million contract expiring in July.
Russia’s preliminary roster for the World Cup was composed entirely of NHL talent, but the completed roster will see four KHL players head over early in the primarily Russian league’s season to compete at the tournament, including one familiar face who has overshadowed the entire announcement.
Three NHL blueliners were added to the roster in the Canadiens’ Alexei Emelin, Red Wings’ Alexey Marchenko and Maple Leafs’ rookie Nikita Zaitsev, while the four KHL players include CSKA Moscow’s Ivan Telegin, as well as three members from SKA St Petersburg: Evgeny Dadonov, Vadim Shipachyov and former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who is one of the more shocking additions to any of the World Cup clubs given his recent history.
Voynov, 26, unceremoniously left the NHL before the 2015-16 campaign following a plea of no contest to domestic violence charges that dated back to an incident in October 2014. Voynov entered his no contest plea in July 2015, at which point he was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Upon his release from California’s Seal Beach Detention Center in September, Voynov was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement before choosing to leave the country willingly and return to Russia. Read more
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
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
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: