CSKA secured the services of defenseman Nikita Nesterov, tying up a one-year deal with the storied 28-year-old. Nesterov spent last season with Calgary, his fifth in North America, but is returning to the club where he won the Gagarin Cup in 2019.
Canadian forward Eric O’Dell, 31, is heading back for his sixth KHL season after signing a one-year deal with Dynamo Moscow. The center, previously with Sochi, Metallurg and Sibir, has 121 (57+64) points in 218 KHL games. During his time in the KHL, O’Dell also picked up an Olympic bronze in 2018.
There’s reassuring news from Kunlun Red Star, with our Chinese franchise confirming several key signings ahead of the new season. Captain Luke Lockhart is among 13 players to commit to a contract extension in the past week. Other significant signings include goalie Jeremy Smith, back for his third season, and forward Cory Kane joining up for a fifth campaign.
The first pre-season game of the summer was a big one for Admiral — after a year-long sabbatical the Sailors got back on the ice with an exhibition game at Dinamo Minsk. And it was a winning return, as the Ushenin brothers, Vladislav and Vyacheslav, marked their return to their first KHL team with a goal and an assist apiece. It finished 3-3 in regulation, with Belarusian prodigy Danila Klimovich also scoring 1+1, before Admiral took the verdict in a shoot-out.
CSKA’s new goalie Ivan Fedotov is hoping to live up to the performances of his notable predecessor Ilya Sorokin. After joining the club from Traktor, he is hoping to match the cup-winning success of the 25-year-old New York Islander.
“I understand very well [that CSKA’s goalies have to measure up to Sorokin],” Fedotov told KHL.ru. “For me it’s just extra motivation, but not something to get hung up over. If I just enjoy my game, I can live up to any comparison.”
Seventy-four KHL officials took part in the pre-season fitness and study camp this week. As usual, everyone was obliged to demonstrate his physical readiness for the upcoming action, as well as getting the lowdown on the incoming rule changes that will take force this term. Chief referee Alexei Anisimov explained that the key changes will offer refs greater flexibility in the penalty tariffs available for certain offenses, while coaches will be permitted an unlimited number of challenges but face greater penalties for unsuccessful appeals.
The NHL draft over the weekend saw 29 Russian players selected — more than any other European nation. Many of them come with extensive KHL experience, although the only first-round pick, Fyodor Svechkov, has yet to play in the league after emerging through the Lada system.
The second round saw several players with KHL experience taken: CSKA’s Prokhor Poltapov went to Buffalo, fellow Army Man Daniil Chaika was chosen by Vegas and SKA’s Nikita Chibrikov was selected by Winnipeg at #50. The latter stages of the draft saw a burst of picks for older Russian players, with the likes of Daniil Pylenkov and Zakhar Bardakov earning the rewards for their progress.
There were also two Belarusian KHLers selected. Danila Klimovich, preparing for his first season with Dinamo Minsk, went to Vancouver in the second round, while Alexei Kolosov became the first Belarusian goalie to be drafted when he was taken by Philadelphia.