Tim Sestito (Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
In a summer of KHL exodus, Tim Sestito is heading the opposite direction, leaving North America to sign a contract with Dinamo Riga for the 2015-16 season. Sestito, 30, has spent the past six seasons in the New Jersey organization and scored 10 goals and 25 points with AHL Albany in 2014-15.
This off-season has seen a number of KHL players, young and old, head across the pond to the NHL, but former New Jersey Devil Tim Sestito is heading the other way.
According to the Rome Sentinel, Sestito, 30, released a statement on Facebook Wednesday evening to announce that he has signed a deal with the KHL’s Dinamo Riga.
“I’m really excited for this new experience,” Sestito told the Sentinel’s Sarah Lokker. “I’ve heard a lot of great things about the city and I’m excited to get over there and start the next phase of my career.”
Sestito said the offer from Riga was one he couldn’t turn down. With 101 NHL games under his belt and eight points – all assists – to his name, he likely wasn’t getting many big money offers from North American clubs, so Sestito taking the opportunity to continue playing professionally in the KHL is likely a good choice.
At the AHL level, Sestito has been steady in his production and a solid depth forward. Over 451 career AHL contests, Sestito has racked up 76 goals and 170 points. For the past three seasons, Sestito has been an alternate captain with New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, the Albany Devils. He was also formerly the captain of Edmonton’s former affiliate, the Springfield Falcons, during the 2008-09 season.
Even with his experience and bottom-six ability at the AHL level, Sestito becomes somewhat of a tough fit in the AHL due to the developmental nature of the league. Because of the AHL’s veteran rule, which allows for only five roster players who have played more than 320 professional games, it makes Sestito a tough fit in the AHL at this point in his career.
Sestito made it to professional hockey as an undrafted free agent, spending time with the ECHL’s Greenville Grrrowl and AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins before signing his first professional deal with the Oilers.