With the eyes of the hockey world focused on the NHL playoffs and the World Championships, there has nonetheless been plenty of activity among the players, agents and coaches of the KHL during the week.
On Thursday. Amur paid a transfer fee to Traktor in exchange for 22-year-old forward Artyom Sevankayev, while Metallurg Novokuznetsk persuaded 21-year-old goaltender Vladislav Podyapolsky to stay at the club for two more years, and recruited veteran forward Artyom Chernov on a one-year deal., The highly experienced 35-year-old was a Gagarin Cup winner with Dynamo Moscow in 2012, but spent the 2016-17 season with Salavat Yulaev and Vityaz.
Most of the high-profile deals signed earlier in the week involved players deciding to stay with their current employers.
The list includes one of Jokerit’s leaders, 29-year-old forward Jesse Joensuu, formerly of the New York Islanders and Edmonton Oilers (NHL totals: 130 games, 24 (13+11) points) and a World Championships gold medalist with Finland in 2011. He has signed on for another three years with the Helsinki men. Joensuu’s team-mate, 25-year-old Danish defenseman Jesper B. Jensen, agreed a deal which sees him stay on for two more years.
Traktor has persuaded the highest-scoring defenseman in KHL history, Kirill Koltsov, to stay on board. The 34-year-old has agreed a deal which sees him remain at the Chelyabinsk club for two more years, continuing a varied career which includes gold medals for Russia at World U18 and U20 levels, a Gagarin Cup win with Salavat Yulaev in 2011, and even a two-season stint (from 2003-2005) with Manitoba Moose in the AHL.
Another player staying put is SKA Saint Petersburg’s 30-year-old Swedish defenseman Patrik Hersley, who has agreed a one-year extension to his contract with the reigning champion. Hersley’s resume includes spells in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs (2007-08) and the Philadelphia Phantoms (2008-09).
Of those players opting for a change of scenery, the most experienced was Russian international defenseman Dmitry Vorobyov, who moved from Salavat Yulaev to Lada. The 31-year-old, a World Championships gold medalist in 2008, returns for his third spell with the Togliatti club. Joining him is forward Igor Skorokhodov, also 31, who began last season with his home club, Severstal, before moving to Metallurg Novokuznetsk. Both players have agreed a one-year deal.
Lokomotiv has paid financial compensation to Amur to bring back three former players: 23-year-old forward Danil Romantsev, 24-year-old forward Kirill Kapustin, and 21-year-old defenseman Alexander Yelesin, all of whom spent the 2016-17 season with the Khabarovsk men. They are joined in Yaroslavl by a fourth prodigal son, 19-year-old forward Denis Alexeyev, who returns after 16 games last season with Admiral, in exchange for financial compensation.
Amur welcomed three more recruits: clinching a two-year deal with 28-year-old defenseman Denis Kuzmin, formerly of Admiral and Neftekhimik, a one-year deal with 28-year-old forward Filipp Toluzakov, who has played in the KHL for Spartak, Avtomobilist Traktor, SKA, and last season, Dinamo Riga, and a one-year deal with 27-year-old forward Dmitry Klopov, previously of Torpedo.
Sibir agreed a two-year deal with forward Sergei Barbashev, a day after the 24-year-old signed a two-year deal with Admiral.
Finally, Neftekhimik have taken 27-year-old forward and Ukrainian international Alexander Toryanik, formerly of Donbas Donetsk, on a try-out contract