Teams looking for some last minute free agent shopping could have received some good news earlier this week when it came out that NHL veteran David Desharnais was set to terminate his contract with HC Lokomotiv in the KHL, but it turns out that he won’t be coming back to North America. The 31-year old Desharnais has signed a one-year deal with Avangard Omsk and will be remaining in the KHL this season.
It was quickly reported after the termination news surfaced that Desharnais would be switching KHL clubs, but it wasn’t clear where he’d be headed. We know now that he’ll be joining long-time NHL head coach Bob Hartley in Omsk, where he’ll likely play a key role. Desharnais doesn’t appear to be anywhere near the end of his playing career, and is actually coming off a season with the New York Rangers where he posted 28 points in 71 games. Though there may not be a ton of room left for him in the NHL, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t find a lot of success in the KHL.
An offensive dynamo in junior, Desharnais went undrafted partly because of his small stature and had to fight his way up through the minor leagues. That included an incredible 106-point season in 2007-08 with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, in which he registered a 27-game point streak and put up one of the best playoff performances in the history of the league with 33 points in 22 games. Desharnais would find relative success in the AHL, and become a 60-point player for the Montreal Canadiens in 2011-12. In the KHL he’ll face a new test, but could potentially set himself up for another contract in North America next summer. Given the lack of center depth for many teams around the league, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his name pop up down the road.