Despite rumors this morning that former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has been cleared to talk to NHL teams, Sportsnet’s John Shannon tweets that a source told him the NHL has not cleared the 28-year-old defenseman who left the NHL in 2014 after he was suspended by the league due to a domestic abuse case.
Voynov, who has played the past three years in the KHL, has indicated he’d like to return to the NHL and looked to be close to getting that opportunity in July when he was granted an expungement of his domestic abuse conviction. The Kings still own the rights to Voynov as he currently sits on the voluntary retirement list. Assuming he gets cleared at some point, Voynov would have to find a team interested in him, which might be difficult. Then that team would have to trade for his rights as the Kings have showed no interest in bringing the blueliner back.
Shannon added that if the NHL eventually decides to allow Voynov to return, he still would face a suspension from the league. The league, union and Voynov’s agent are all discussing his return.
- Las Vegas Review Journals’ David Schoen reports there is little new information on the contract status of restricted free agent defenseman Shea Theodore. The scribe writes that with just three and a half weeks remaining until the start of training camp, there is some concern the 23-year-old blueliner might opt to hold out rather than settle. While there is no word how far apart they are in negotations, Theodore has expressed interest in signing a long-term deal and is likely to get money comparable to other deals signed by New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson (six years, $25MM) and New York Rangers’ Brady Skjei (six years, $31.5MM), although a bridge deal isn’t out of the question either.
- After recently meeting with Russian forward Vladimir Tkachyov a couple of days ago, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was also seen immediately after that in St. Petersburg at a preseason KHL game involving SKA, the team that Nikita Gusev plays for, tweeted international reporter Igor Eronko. The highly-touted 26-year-old, whose rights are owned by the Golden Knights, will be a free agent next season and the team has made it clear they would like to bring him over for the 2019-20 season. Gusev has scored at least 20 goals in each of the last four seasons.
- In another Golden Knights note, The Edmonton Journal’s Kurt Leavins tweets that he’s heard a rumor that Vegas is considering offer defenseman Luca Sbisa a PTO in the coming days. Sbisa produced a solid season for the Golden Knights when he wasn’t injured. Unfortunately, Sbisa only managed to be healthy for 30 contests, but proved to be a valuable leader. His offense also improved as he had 14 points in those 30 games, good second on his career-totals.