It appears as though a pair of defenders are set to return to the KHL after uninspiring seasons in the NHL, as multiple reports including Darren Dreger of TSN and Pekka Jalonen of Iltalehti have noted that Igor Ozhiganov and Bogdan Kiselevich are likely headed back to Russia. Both players will see their one-year contracts expire on July 1st and were sitting in the press box by the end of the season.
Of note, Ozhiganov is actually scheduled to become a restricted free agent meaning the Toronto Maple Leafs could retain his rights if they issue a qualifying offer. The team though didn’t play him much down the stretch or at all in the playoffs, as Jake Muzzin’s arrival pushed him out of the lineup. Even with Toronto’s lack of right-handed options, there didn’t seem to be a fit between head coach Mike Babcock and Ozhiganov, who averaged just 14 minutes a night through his 53 games. Kiselevich was acquired by the Winnipeg Jets at the deadline to give them a bit of depth for a long playoff run, but never actually suited up with his new team. In 32 games for the Florida Panthers, he recorded eight points.
- The Washington Capitals were pushed right up against the cap all season, and it’ll cost them next year. Isabelle Khurshudyan of the Washington Post points out that the Capitals will face a $1.15MM overage penalty against next year’s cap because of the performance bonuses paid out to Brooks Orpik, Jakub Vrana and Jonas Siegenthaler. While paying out performance bonuses is normally a good thing that means players exceeded expectations, it will make it tough on the Capitals who are going to be cap-strapped next season. The team needs to sign Andre Burakovsky and Vrana to new deals as restricted free agents and may have to let Brett Connolly walk into unrestricted free agency as he deserves a big raise after his first 20-goal season. There are obviously a lot of moving parts to keep an eye on in Washington.
- Team Sweden looked like it might need a bit more firepower up front for the 2019 IIHF World Championship when announcing their preliminary roster, and they’re getting a bit of help from the Calgary Flames. Elias Lindholm will be joining the team according to Jonatan Lindquist of Viasat, giving them another top scoring option for the tournament. Lindholm reached new heights this season while playing with Calgary, scoring 27 goals and 78 points in a breakout performance. The 24-year old was the fifth-overall pick from 2013 but had previously failed to record more than 16 goals or 45 points in a single season.