Dan Sexton, Lukas Klok, Frans Tuohimaa, and Ronald Knot
Sign with Neftekhimik
Last year, Neftekhimik had a rocky season and failed to reach the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. To try and return to the postseason, the Nizhnekamsk franchise tried signing some import players. The most significant signing is undoubtedly Dan Sexton. The American forward already spent five years with the Wolves from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018, conquering twice the playoffs, then he spent the next three years in Yekaterinburg. Lukas Klok also has past KHL experience, having played the 2018-2019 campaign with Slovan. Defenseman Ronald Knot and goalie Frans Tuohimaa will be at their first season in Russia. It will be interesting to see whether they can adapt fast to their new reality and help Neftekhimik return to the postseason.
From Dinamo Minsk to Avtomobilist
Yekaterinburg is keeping on strengthening its lineup, and after signing Patrice Cormier, Jesse Blacker, and Shane Prince, they returned to the market, adding forward Ryan Spooner. The 29-years-old native of Ontario has two strong KHL campaigns under his belt in Belarus. In Yekaterinburg, the hope is that he can bring with himself his playmaking abilities to propel the team’s scorers in the O-zone. Spooner had 60 assists in two seasons in Minsk — only Mikael Ruohomaa, Brian O’Neill, and Vadim Shipachyov had more in the latest two campaigns — the bar will be pretty high for him on the Urals.
Signs with Dinamo Riga
The Canadian D-man will join Riga for the next season. It’s an exciting signing for the Latvian franchise since Frank Corrado spent ten years in North America as a pro in the NHL and the AHL and even lined up for the Sudbury Wolves at the 2011 Junior Club World Cup. Last year, Corrado played in the Swedish second-tier league, but he has enough experience to play in the KHL. Among other achievements, Corrado spent four years with Jokerit’s Niklas Jensen — maybe he’ll know how to deal with the Danish star when the two teams clash in the 2021-2022 regular season.
From Dinamo Minsk to Avangard Omsk
The experienced native of Quebec will return for a ninth KHL season with the reigning Gagarin Cup champions. Francis Pare spent the latest two years with Dinamo Minsk without getting as often as it used to be on the scoresheet. However, he will line up with Belarus at the upcoming 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga, and thus he won’t be considered an import for the Hawks. Avangard is now trying to build on their success, and Pare’s experience will undoubtedly be beneficial to Bob Hartley in keeping the right locker room atmosphere and helping the team on the ice.
Signs with Barys
The Swedish defenseman emerged as one of the top D-men in the SHL in the latest couple of years. With HV71, he was one of the top-scoring defensemen in the league, and he deserved with his play a move to a more prestigious scene. The offensive defenseman will undoubtedly play a substantial role in Kazakhstan. He’s the first player to be inked by Barys in this offseason, while the franchise’s fans are waiting for more signings as a few key players left Nur-Sultan after April 30th. Last year, Eric Martinsson was HV71’s top scorer and had the most assists among all the league’s defensemen.
From CSKA to Metallurg
It was perhaps a bit of a surprise seeing Leipsic leaving CSKA. The Winnipeg native had a decent first season in the KHL, scoring 24 (11+13) points in 42 regular-season games, adding another 8 (3+5) in the playoffs. However, on May 7th, CSKA announced to have traded the rights on him with Metallurg in exchange for the rights on Swedish forward Lias Andersson. Soon after, Brendan Leipsic inked a two-year deal with the Southern Urals franchise — he’s expected to play a top-six role under Ilya Vorobyov and try and help the franchise getting back to their golden age when they won two Gagarin Cups in 2014 and 2016.