According to Darren Dreger of TSN, the Calgary Flames are closing in on a deal with KHL goaltender Artyom Zagidulin. The 23-year old played this season with Magnitogorsk, but was eliminated from the Gagarin Cup playoffs early on. Zagidulin’s contract technically doesn’t expire until the end of April, but he must have come to an agreement with the team in order to let him negotiate with Calgary. His NHL contract would have to be a one-year entry-level deal, which would kick in next season.
Zagidulin, 23, recorded a .924 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average for Magnitogorsk this season, the first time he was given a hefty load. Those numbers actually improved in his four playoff games where he had a .928, and should bode well for his future in North America.
Calgary has obviously been looking for an opportunity to improve their goaltending depth after both David Rittich and Mike Smith have struggled at times this season, and signing Zagidulin will cost them nothing but money. The team does have some young goaltenders in the system including Tyler Parsons, but only Jon Gillies has really shown that he could contribute at the NHL level in the short term. Rittich and Smith meanwhile are both free agents this summer, though the former is still under control as an RFA.
It’s unlikely that Zagidulin will give the Flames an NHL answer right away, but adding another legitimate prospect in goal was an obvious need this summer. The team looks like they’ll just get it done a little bit early, stealing a top option from overseas.