Metallurg Magnitogorsk on Thursday agreed a two-year deal with former Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Ellison. The 33-year-old, who was part of the Team Canada roster at last season’s Deutschland Cup, was out of contract after three seasons with Dinamo Minsk.
A day earlier, the Magnitogorsk management succeeded in persuading another ex-NHL man, forward Oskar Osala, 29, to stay at the club for another year. The Finnish international enjoyed two spells in the NHL, with the Washington Capitals (2008-09) and the Carolina Hurricanes (20090-10), but was given only 3 appearances in total. He did, however, win the 2008-09 Calder Cup with the Hershey Bears.
Kunlun Red Star’s recruitment drive shows no signs of slowing down, and three more Canadian players have crossed the Pacific to continue their careers in China: in comes defenseman Jesse Blacker, who last year played at Nuremberg, but is a CHL Memorial Cup winner and two-time OHL Champion. The 26-year-old also has one NHL outing on his resume, with the Anaheim Ducks, and alongside Matt Ellison, above, he represented Canada at the 2016-17 Deutschland Cup.
He is joined by forward Brandon DeFazio, 28, who made 2 appearances in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks in 2014-15, and spent last season in the AHL with the Texas Stars.
The third new arrival is 30-year-old forward Brandon Wong, who has donned the colors of 15 teams in 10 different North American and European leagues since starting out at Victoria Racquet Club Kings in the British Columbia
All three new arrivals have signed one-year contracts, but Wong’s Chinese ancestry means he can set his sights on becoming part of the People’s Republic team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Spartak has persuaded ex-Philadelphia Flyers forward Denis Tolpeko to stay for another year., The 32-year-old was a two-time Gagarin Cup winner with Dynamo Moscow, then embarked on a mini-tour of the KHL with spells at Neftekhimik, Salavat Yulaev, Torpedo, Amur and HC Sochi, before deciding on a return to his native Moscow and signing for the Red-and-Whites midway through last season.
Defenseman Denis Yezhov, formerly of Avangard, Traktor, Amur, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Vityaz, and Severstal, has signed on for a year with Lada Togliatti. The 32-year-old became a free agent on the expiry of his contract with the Cherepovets club.
Avtomobilist has agreed a one-year contract with forward Andrei Chvanchikov, formerly of Lokomotiv. The 20-year-old spent the past five seasons at Yaroslavl but failed to break into the KHL team.
HC Sochi has given a tryout contract to 22-year-old forward Dmitry Boichuk, formerly of Dynamo Moscow.