The 2019 Gagarin Cup belongs to CSKA Moscow after finishing off their sweep of Avangard today. The club was a powerhouse all season as usual, but finally won their first championship after getting to the final in three of the last four years. Former NHL forward Mikhail Grigorenko led the way with 13 goals and 21 points in the playoffs for CSKA, while Cody Franson did his best for Avangard with 17 points to lead all defenders.
With the KHL season now officially over, we’ll start to see more and more rumors pop up about the next wave of Russian talent heading to North America. Contracts technically go through the end of April, but even players on CSKA will now be able to negotiate their future in the NHL if they so choose.
- The winners couldn’t have gotten there without New York Islanders draft pick Ilya Sorokin, who was named playoff MVP. The 23-year old goaltender stopped 36 of 38 shots in the final game giving him a .947 save percentage for the playoffs. The incredible young netminder recorded five shutouts during his 20-game Cup run, showing once again why he is considered one of the best goaltenders currently outside of the NHL. Sorokin’s contract with CSKA extends through 2019-20, and at this point it is not clear when he plans on coming over to North America, if at all.
- Speaking of outstanding performances from outside of the NHL, Daniel Carr was named AHL MVP today and will receive the Les Cunningham Award. Carr played just 52 games this season for the Chicago Wolves but was an absolutely dominant presence during them. The 27-year old forward recorded 71 points, putting him third in league scoring despite playing 20 fewer games than his contemporaries. Carr is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and can sign with the team of his choosing, likely looking for another chance at the NHL. The undrafted forward has 35 points in 100 career NHL games.