The Vegas Golden Knights have made their first big player acquisition, signing KHL star Vadim Shipachyov to a two-year contract.
Shipachyov will make $4.5MM per season, per the team’s media release. He joins rookie pro and former Brandon Wheat King center Reid Duke as the only two players currently under contract by the expansion Golden Knights franchise.
The 30-year-old center is a legitimate scoring threat in Russia, having scored 26 goals and 50 assists for 76 points in 50 games this season for SKA St. Petersburg. That was good for third in the KHL and second on SKA, behind only Ilya Kovalchuk. In Shipachyov’s nine-year career in the KHL, he has 137 goals and 412 points in 445 games. His points-per-game is slightly lessened by his early years; he’s scored 190 points in 153 games over the last three years. SKA has won the Gagarin Cup twice in those seasons.
Shipachyov is a highly-skilled offensive player, but isn’t a big body at 6’1, 190 lbs. Here’s how he’s described by Elite Prospects:
Shipachyov is a skilled center with excellent on-ice vision. He skates very well and with a fluid stride. Owns great offensive instincts and likes to have the puck on his stick. Could improve his all-around game. Isn’t overly efficient in physical battles.
Even though this is Shipachyov’s first contract with an NHL club, he’s too old to sign an entry-level contract and will be a UFA at the expiry of the two-year deal, according to Cap Friendly. No word yet if he’ll wear his usual number 87 in the NHL. Only Sidney Crosby and Capitals minor-leaguer Liam O’Brien currently wear the number.
Shipachyov is currently with the Team Russia at the IIHF World Championships in Colonge, Germany.