Last we heard there was interest from several teams around the NHL in free agent center Nick Shore, but still nothing materialized before the season began last week. Now, with no contract apparent in North America, Shore will take his talents overseas. Igor Eronko of Sport-Express has confirmed with Magnitogorsk Metallurg that they’ve signed Shore to a one-year contract.
This surely won’t be the last we hear of Shore in North America, especially given the fact that he still grades out positively among analytical scouting methods and can reliably play the middle of the ice. No, he has not been a reliable scoring option at the NHL level—with only 53 points in 236 games—but there are still teams struggling to find anyone who can win a faceoff and not get filled in defensively. Shore benefits from several years playing in the Los Angeles Kings system, which traditionally boosts possession statistics, but also has shown himself to be at least capable in short stints in Ottawa and Calgary.
Still, there’s obviously a feeling of uncertainty when it comes to the 26-year old forward, given that he was included in the Dion Phaneuf–Marian Gaborik salary swap and then sold off the Flames for a seventh-round pick. It’s not clear exactly what kind of market materialized for him this offseason, but there could very well have been no one-way deals available. Heading to the KHL for a season will allow him to rebuild his value somewhat while still playing at a high level, and Magnitogorsk is off to a 11-6 record and should be competitive all season long.