The trade market has been red hot around the KHL for the last few days, and while the trade deadline is on the other side of season, teams are gearing up to make sure they reach what they are fighting for – the KHL’s Gagarin Cup playoffs.
KHL Market Activated
Barry Brust on the move
Medvescak goaltender Barry Brust may be the most prominent name on the move, as his contract contained a NTC that stated the Canadian-born netminder could void his contract until December 31st and join any team he wants. Later, as rumors appeared that he was going to stay in the KHL, it was reported that Brust is close to signing with Yugra Hantimansijsk, a team well known for its quality goaltenders.
”This obviously isn’t a easy decision. Barry has been a huge part of our organisation and success that we have had here and he is such a popular guy with our fans. But when a player gets the kind of offer he got and with the job security for himself for the rest of this season and next year, with the money being 4 to 5 times more than he made here, it’s something we really can’t hold him back from”, said Medvescak Sports Director Aaron Fox.
”This is the only way our organisation will be able to succeed I believe is to put players in a position to come here for small money and flourish in our situation and then move on to make bigger money with the club also gaining some financial flexibility,” he added.
“It’s something that isn’t easy for us to deal with as a club, especially at the goalie position, but we feel that with (our goalies) competing for minutes here already and us looking for another goalie to come in and prove himself at this level, we hope that we will get someone to step up and play well. Barry has paid his dues in this League and deserves to be paid what other top goalies in this League make. I wish him a lot of success and am thankful for his time spent here and what he has brought to the club,” he said.
Brust joined Medvescak in the 2013-14 season and during 27 KHL games has recorded four shutouts, while winning goaltender of the week twice and goaltender of the month once. In 2014-15 he played 19 games, had a .933 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against average with two shutouts.
Kyle Wilson in demand
Perhaps the most interesting situation has been the relationship between Chelyabinsk Tractor and Kyle Wilson. Both shared the same path until it was announced that Traktor had exterminated his contract, making him a free agent.
In a league that values depth at the center position, Wilson is one of the big fishes most likely to be signed, even after his massive breakdown this season which saw him record six points (1+5) and -14 in 22 games. Last season Wilson led Dinamo Riga with 44 points (17 goals and 27 assists) in 44 games.
It wouldn’t be hard to explain why one of the last season’s leading scorers has had a massive meltdown – back surgery last year that caused him to miss the playoffs. He signed with Donetsk Donbass in the off season but Donbass tore up his contract, so Wilson decided to head to Tractor after consulting with former Dinamo Riga teammate Lauris Darzins.
With him being available, Riga’s GM Normunds Sejejs might be running around like crazy to get him. Wilson himself has said that he would love to return to the Latvian capital.
”I fell in love with the style of hockey in the KHL, the bigger rinks and the skill players have. I like to play on bigger ice, I think I’m doing really good. I loved it here last season, so I decided to stay, and play for a team which can fight for the trophy.” Wilson stated during the offseason.
Jiri Sekac’s KHL rights
Jiri Sekacs KHL’s rights traveled from Lev Prague to AkBars in exchange for what seems to be a briefcase of money, which automatically alerted people that Sekac might be moving back to the KHL to play in Kazan. Apparently that’s not happening, as AkBars spent some cash to make sure they can pull off a successful trade. It should also be noted that while word of this move was breaking yesterday, it was actually a trade that happened in June of 2014, just prior to Sekac signing with the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens
Alexei Semyonov finds a new home
Former NHL’er Alexei Semyonov has moved from SKA St.Petersburgh to Podolsk Vitjaz. It’s a great way to boost their defense,while Semyonov has zero points and an even +/- in seven games this season.
Coaches moving as well
Even coaching seats are red hot around the league. It seems that Salavat Julajev UFA, which is facing financial problems and has asked for help from Russian President Vladmir Putin, is now doing the what they can.
The leadership of the club isn’t really happy with their coach Vladimir Jurzinov and his seat has started to shake. Rumours or truth? We will see that in next couple of days.
Meanwhile another head coach – Artis Abols – has to be worried about his job. He was tasked to record 18 points in nine games, but now with less than four games left, he isn’t close to that goal. The board of Dinamo Riga might take action unless they want to be like Buffalo Sabres, only with no player of value (and therefore nothing) to tank for.
Dinamo has 26 points in 25 games, which places them in 13th in the East, five points ahead of HK Sochi, which has played only 21 games so far.
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