After the KHL took two defensemen back from the NHL this morning, the New Jersey Devils have stolen one back. The team announced that it has signed Yaroslav Dyblenko to a two-year entry-level contract. The financials of the deal were not released, but it is the longest deal possible for a player of Dyblenko’s age.
The 23-year old defenseman has played the last four years full-time in the KHL—with part-time duty before that—and logged just over 17 minutes of ice time in the most recent season. He’s never put up very impressive offensive numbers, recording just 39 points across 180 KHL games. The Devils must see something more in him, as he’ll now join their organization and try to crack the lineup next season.
Despite the NHL’s decision not to go to the Olympics, it doesn’t seem as though the Russian league will be able to keep much of their talent from leaving to play in North America. Vladimir Sobotka returned after terminating his contract early, and immediately signed a three-year extension with the St. Louis Blues. While some players like Tryamkin may decide to return, it will still be a two-way street with talent heading both ways. The Devils are one of the first to dip their toes into the KHL free agent pool, but there will be several more announcements throughout the next few weeks as the Gagarin Cup playoffs have come to an end.