Czech international Dmitrij Jaskin has been on the KHL radar for a while: Sibir made him the first choice in the 2010 KHL Junior draft but later traded his rights to Dynamo Moscow. Now, after leaving the Washington Capitals, the Omsk-born forward is ready to have a look at our league and has signed a one-year deal with the Blue-and-Whites. The 26-year-old made an instant impact, scoring on his debut to help Dynamo win the Mayor of Moscow Cup. And why has the powerfully built right winger opted to return to Europe? In his own words, he was tired of waiting for a suitable offer in North America and just wanted to get on with playing the game. Jaskin has strong Russian connections: his father Alexej comes from Krasnoyarsk and played in the Soviet Championship for Khimik Voskresensk before moving to the Czech Republic in the early 1990s when Dmitrij was just eight months old. Jaskin Snr was involved in player development at Slovan Bratislava in the KHL until the end of last season.
Another Trans-Atlantic trade sees Eric Tangradi swap the AHL for the KHL. The 30-year-old left wing joins Barys as part of a rebuilt foreign legion in Nur-Sultan. Tangradi has played 150 games in the NHL, but the bulk of his career was spent in the AHL. In 2011 he was part of the All-Star Game while playing for the Wilkes Barr / Scranton Penguins and in 2017 he helped Grand Rapids win the Calder Cup, tallying a point a game in the playoffs.
The final round of pre-season competitions was decided over the weekend – and generally it was a good time for host teams. In Riga, Dinamo won the Latvian Railways Cup after a winner-takes-all showdown against Ak Bars for top spot. SKA won its Puchkov Tournament with a game to spare after beating Torpedo, Sochi and Jokerit. The Finns are left to battle for second place with Sochi and Avangard also in contention. The Mayor of Moscow Cup was played at a neutral venue and Dynamo Moscow took the trophy after a three-way tie at the top of the table. For Vityaz, even a 5-0 victory over Gagarin Cup winner CSKA was not enough to snatch the prize for the first time in its history. And, for the second tournament in a row, Traktor defeated Magnitogorsk in the decisive game. This time the Romazan Memorial Cup will go to Chelyabinsk.
Last week saw the start of the Sirius Ice Hockey World Cup, which brings eight top junior club teams to Sochi. Defending champion Loko Yaroslavl has already secured top spot in Group A and a place in the semi-final after victories over Davos (SUI) and an AJHL Select team. In Group B, Austria’s Red Bull started with a convincing win over Ocelari Trinec of the Czech Republic, while Karpat (FIN) defeated an NAHL Select. The group phase continues over the next three days and the medal games will be contested on Saturday.
The U20 Four Nations tournament in Perm saw Russia take top spot. Valery Bragin’s team was tied with the Czech Republic on six points but got the nod thanks to a 4-1 win over the Czechs in the opening game. Lokomotiv youngster Grigory Denisenko revived his promising partnership with Metallurg’s Pavel Dorofeyev; the former was named top forward of the tournament.
The pre-season action winds down: Monday brings the last tournament action of the summer as the minor placings at the Puchkov Trophy are confirmed, then there’s just a handful of exhibition games left to play. But the real stuff starts Sunday when the KHL Season 12 gets underway. This year’s Opening Cup is a repeat of the Gagarin Cup final, with defending champion CSKA taking on runner-up Avangard in Moscow. The game starts at 15:30 Moscow time (14:30 CET, 09:30 East Coast) and marks the return of Eurasia’s top hockey tournament.