As expected, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Igor Ozhiganov is heading back to the KHL. The pending restricted free agent has signed a two-year contract with Ak Bars Kazan according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet. The Maple Leafs can retain his rights temporarily if they issue him a qualifying offer, but lose them next summer after Ozhiganov’s 27th birthday.
Meanwhile, Eemeli Rasanen is also heading back to the KHL this time to join Jokerit once again. Rasanen, a second-round pick from 2017 played five games with the Toronto Marlies this year but will continue to develop overseas for the time being. He doesn’t have a contract with the Maple Leafs currently, but they will retain his draft rights indefinitely due to his departure to the KHL before they expired in the first place.
- Speaking of Jokerit, the team also made a trade today to acquire some pretty impressive rights. The team now owns the KHL rights for Florida Panthers forward Henrik Borgstrom and Dallas Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen. While this doesn’t mean much right now given the two young players are entrenched in the NHL, it could potentially pay off if there is another work stoppage and North American talent is looking for a place to play.
- Luke Kunin has been added to the Team USA roster at the current IIHF World Championship, giving the team a full 25-man roster. They’re back in action this weekend taking on Denmark and Germany, before a classic battle with Canada on Tuesday evening. Kunin brings a fair bit of international experience despite being just 21, as he won gold at both the U18 and U20 World Juniors while serving as captain for Team USA. Clayton Keller, Colin White and Adam Fox were also part of that U20 team, now reunited at the Worlds.