Returns to Neftekhimik
The Slovakian forward was one of the best in Neftekhimik’s rocky 2020-2021 campaign, when he topped the team with 17 goals and 21 assists for the Wolves. However, Libor Hudacek opted for a move to Switzerland when Nizhnekamsk was out of the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. After playing out the season with Lausanne, Hudacek — a brother to former Spartak’s goalie Julius — signed back to Neftekhimik, looking to a second season with the Wolves improving his results and his team’s record.
Sign with Vityaz
It’s not the first time that Vityaz resorts to Finnish players to try improving its lineup. D-man Valtteri Kemilainen is thought to be a replacement as the Moscow Region team lost two top blueliners in Jakub Jerabek and Linus Hultstrom — this latter signed with Metallurg. Kemilainen is an experienced D-man with a proven record of an offensive defenseman who can easily rack up points and help the forwards in the O-zone. In 2017, he helped Tappara winning the title being the top scorer among defensemen, then he went on scoring more than 90 points in the next three seasons.
Nico Ojamaki spent the 2020-2021 campaign in the Swedish SHL, with Linkoping, and helped the Leijonat win the gold medal at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia. He is expected to provide experience and leadership while Vityaz will adapt to its new coach, Yuri Babenko, who as a player won two Gagarin Cups with Dynamo Moscow.
From Ak Bars to Avtomobilist
The Frenchman had an exceptional regular season in Kazan, leading the team with 57 (20+37) points in only 52 games. However, he was far less effective in the postseason, scoring only once in the first round against Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and remaining off the scoresheet in the series against Avangard. Stephane Da Costa is now returning to Yekaterinburg, where he already played in 2018-2019. The Motormen are amassing an exciting squad for next season, and maybe Da Costa will return to deliver in the playoffs as well as he did earlier in his career with CSKA. The creative forward inked a two-season deal with Avtomobilist.
Signs with Amur
Khabarovsk has long become a place for Czech players to thrive, and the tradition will live on in 2021-2022 as David Tomasek joins Michal Jordan and Dominik Masin. The Tigers now have three import spots taken. Tomasek is a versatile player who can play both in the middle and on the flank, and was one of the top scorers for Sparta Prague last year in the Czech league. He will bring to Khabarovsk his talent and experience — other than in his native Czech Republic, Tomasek played in North American and Finland.