The middle of June is a period of relative calm on the transfer markets, but last week still saw several significant moves, w European and North American players featured heavily in the trading.
Canadian Defenseman Charles Genoway, who represented Canada at last season’s Deutschland Cup, has signed up for a year with Lada Togliatti. The 30-year-old has previously played for Jokerit, Spartak, and Dinamo Riga (and, for history buffs, he gained a lone NHL appearance for Minnesota Wild back in 2011-12.).
Kunlun Red Star added six more players to its roster: three from Europe, one from Russia and two from North America.
The Finnish contingent is further strengthened with the arrival of two forwards: 29-year-old Vili Sopanen, who was top scorer (20+26 in 41 games) for the Pelicans in Finland’s Liiga last season, and 27-year-old Matias Myttynen, who had a good 2016-17 Liiga campaign with Kalpa (14+25 in 56 games).
They are joined by two defensemen with KHL experience: 23-year-old Russian Nikita Khlystov, formerly with Traktor, Metallurg Novokuznetsk and Ugra, and Latvian international defenseman Arturs Kulda, 28, who has played for Sibir, Salavat Yulaev, and Jokerit. Kulda has also tasted hockey on the other side of the Pacific: a decade ago, Arturs was AHL Calder Cup Champion with the Chicago Wolves, and he made 15 NHL appearances in two short spells with the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets.
The two new Red Star recruits from North America are lesser known, but by no means less interesting: 26-year-old Canadian defenseman Mikael Tam, who spent last season at Norfolk (ECHL) and Bakersfield (AHL), but has experience of European ice after playing the 2015-16 season with Sparta Sarpsborg in Norway, and 26-year-old American forward Cory Kane, a former Texas Stars (AHL) man, and who also has European rink experience after spending last season with HC Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Republic. Both players have signed up for two years, but more significantly, both have Chinese origins and can therefore set their sights on the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Two more Finns were on the move last week: Jokerit has agreed a two-year deal with 29-year-old forward Olli Palola, who wore the colors of Vityaz in 2015-16 but spent last year with Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish League, and Ugra has sealed a one-year deal with defenseman Tuukka Mantyla. It will be the sixth KHL club for the 36-year-old, after tours of duty with Kunlun Red Star, Medvescak, Amur, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, and Neftekhimik.
Following Metallurg Novokuznetsk’s move to the VHL, the exodus of players continues with the departure of three forwards: Evgeny Solovyov, 25, has signed on at Neftekhimik for one year, his fellow 25-year-old, Ignat Zemchenko, has moved to Sibir, also for one year, and 22-year-old Kirill Semyonov returns to former club Avangard on a two-year contract,
Among those players who decided they were happy with their current employers were Ak Bars forward Justin Azevedo, Dinamo Riga forward Mikelis Redlihs, and Ugra forward Veli-Matti Savinainen, all of whom have extended their contracts by one year.