Three-time KHL champion Maxim Chudinov is heading to Admiral. The veteran defenseman, who won with SKA in 2015 and 2017, then again with Avangard in 2021, split last season between Ak Bars and Spartak. In total he has 709 KHL appearances, with 78 goals and 160 assists. Now 33, the Cherepovets native signed a one-year deal in Vladivostok. Another champion D-man, Artyom Sergeyev, swapped CSKA for SKA after signing a three-year contract in Petersburg. Sergeyev won the cup twice with the Muscovites, contributing 20 (3+17) points to the 2023 title-winning campaign.
American forward Alex Broadhurst is moving to Amur. The 30-year-old played 81 games for Avangard last season, contributing 38 (17+21) points. Previously, Broadhurst played a couple of NHL games with the Blue Jackets and had two seasons with HIFK in Finland. Jakub Lilja left Dynamo Moscow after his contract was terminated. The Swede had 31 (14+17) points in 58 games last season.
With fewer imports permitted in the coming season — Russian teams are restricted to three foreign players for the 2023-2024 campaign — some teams are already ‘fully booked’. Avangard added Czech defenseman Libor Sulak from Amur to join forwards Reid Boucher and Corban Knight, both of whom return from last season. Eastern conference rival Avtomobilist is sticking with familiar faces: Nick Ebert, Brooks Macek and Stephane Da Costa all return to Yekaterinburg for the new season. Amur is the third team in the East to fill its import slots, with Alex Broadhurst joining Latvian goalie Janis Kalnins and Canadian D-man Cam Lee.
In the West, Dynamo Moscow added Stanley Cup-winner Cedric Paquette to the team. The former Dinamo Minsk man joins American D-man Brennan Menell and forward Jordan Weal who return from last season.
The closing ceremony for the KHL’s 15th season had a special guest. Alexander Ovechkin dropped in to hand out an award to his former Washington Capitals team-mate Dmitrij Jaskin, now with SKA. Jaskin collected several prizes, including the top scorer award and the ‘golden stick’ for the regular season MVP. The league also unveiled a dream team of the best players from its first 15 years. The symbolic line-up featured goalie Alexander Yeryomenko, defensemen Kevin Dallman and Ilya Nikulin, plus forwards Sergei Mozyakin, Danis Zaripov and Ilya Kovalchuk under the coaching of Zinetula Bilyaletdinov.
SKA released an update on its new home, which is expected to be the biggest hockey arena in Europe when it opens. The club said that work on the 21,500-seater arena was 90% complete and added that it could stage its first hockey games in August. As well as SKA, Sibir is expected to move into a new arena next season.
Few gave team Kazakhstan much chance at the 2023 IIHF World Championship. Changes in the rules meant the national team was unable to call on the dual-national players who had represented the country in the past, and a young roster built around home-grown talent from Barys and the Kazakh league seemed destined to struggle. However, with one game left in the group stage in Riga, the Kazakhs are safe from relegation. Shoot-out wins over Norway and Slovakia gave Kazakhstan four points. Even a defeat against Slovenia today would not put the team in danger, since the opposition could only get to three points and will finish bottom of the standings. Meanwhile, co-host Latvia needs one more point to guarantee a quarter-final spot ahead of Slovakia, helped by an 8-0 thrashing of Kazakhstan on Saturday. Switzerland and the USA lead their respective qualification groups after both nations won their first six games.