Since the Olympic decision came down, details have continued to come out about Russian-born players and their desire (and pressure) to play in the Games anyway. We heard from Nikita Zaitsev on the matter yesterday, saying that it hasn’t changed his plans on staying in North America, but now one Flyers’ forward isn’t so clear. Roman Lyubimov, the former CSKA Moscow winger who signed a one-year deal with Philadelphia this summer and has suited up for 46 games told Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer that it will be a “tough decision” whether or not to return to the KHL next year.
Zaitsev of course has a huge contract extension waiting for him, while Lyubimov has been a healthy scratch for much of the year. The 24-year old forward likely isn’t sure of his place in the NHL after struggling this year and sometimes only seeing five minutes of ice time. He’s a restricted free agent at the end of the year, and if there isn’t a clear role for him in Philadelphia, it may just not fit for him anymore.
- Taylor Beck has been recalled by the New York Rangers for the first time since being acquired at the trade deadline. The 25-year old forward is having a huge year at the AHL level, with 63 points in 54 games. He’ll likely draw into the lineup as the Rangers give some key players the night off heading into the playoffs.
- The New Jersey Devils, on the other hand have sent both Steven Santini and Luke Gazdic back down to the Albany Devils as they prepare for the Calder Cup playoffs. The AHL Devils are in third place in the North division but haven’t actually locked up a spot just yet as Utica and St. John’s are right on their tail. With just five games remaining for the team before the end of the regular season, both Santini and Gazdic will help their chances of making it into the postseason.
- Marcus Foligno’s season is over, according to John Vogl of the Buffalo News. The forward has been given a 7-10 day timeline on his knee injury, which will take him through the end of the year. Foligno set a career high in goals with 13 and has found a niche as a fast, physical presence in the league. His 279 hits rank fifth in the league and second among forwards behind only Matt Martin of the Maple Leafs. A restricted free agent in the summer, he’ll be looking for a slight raise over the $2.25MM he earned this season, and could earn a long-term deal if he agrees to a sub-$3MM salary.
- The Vegas Golden Knights have sent their only player to the Chicago Wolves on a professional tryout, as Reid Duke starts his journey into pro hockey. The Wolves have been long rumored as the future affiliate of the Golden Knights, and though this doesn’t guarantee that it is another hint that there is already a handshake deal in place. Duke should get used to his surroundings, as he’ll have a tough time cracking the NHL roster next year even if his name is already in the history books.