Amidst a steady but mostly unspectacular start to July on the transfer market, two deals demand special attention from fans and historians alike: HC Kunlun Red Star of Beijing, the first Chinese club to join the KHL, registered their first official signings with the League, and both players are Finnish defensemen with KHL experience.
From his hometown club of Tappara Tampere comes 35-year-old Tuukka Mantyla, formerly of Neftekhimik, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Amur and Medvescak Zagreb. Joining him in Beijing is his 31-year-old compatriot Anssi Salmela, who wore the colors of Avangard Omsk from 2011 to 2013. Like Mantyla, Salmela started his career with Tappara but then headed west for three seasons in the NHL, posting 21 points (4+17) in 112 outings for the New Jersey Devils and Atlanta Thrashers. After his spell at Avangard, Anssi moved to Sweden for three seasons before deciding on this move to the People's Republic.
Both players have been signed on one-year contracts.