Though we’ve known for a while that David Desharnais would be heading to the KHL, we now know where he’ll play in 2018-19. Louis Jean of TVA Sports reports that Desharnais has signed with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, joining former NHL players like Maxime Talbot, Staffan Kronwall, and Brandon Kozun.
It’s surprising that Desharnais would make this decision so quickly, as even though there wasn’t likely a huge market for him this summer, he’s still a useful depth player. The 31-year old center had 28 points for the New York Rangers this season, and was once again a positive in the faceoff dot. Desharnais is obviously not the 60-point player of his youth, but there are plenty of teams that need fourth-line centers that can move up the lineup if needed.
Instead, he’ll avoid the perils of unrestricted free agency and go play in the KHL for the first time. The undrafted Desharnais spent some time in the NLA during the most recent lockout, but will have a new set of experiences playing in Russia. There is a good chance that he finds a lot of success for Lokomotiv, as he’s always been an effective offensive player when given the chance. It’s unclear how long he has signed for, but it’s likely that we’ll see Desharnais back in North America at some point.