The New Jersey Devils gave Egor Yakovlev plenty of opportunities to prove himself in the NHL, but it apparently wasn’t enough to keep him around. The Russian defenseman has returned to the KHL after just one season in North America, signing a two-year deal with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Yakovlev is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but has already committed to his Russian return.
Yakovlev, 27, played 25 games for New Jersey this season, while also suiting up 19 times for their AHL affiliate. The veteran KHL defenseman ended up with seven points in the NHL, but will return to Russia where he has found success over the years. Undrafted, he played his first full season for Yaroslavl in 2012-13 and has been part of several international tounaments. In 2018 he took home a gold medal as part of the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and has won the Gagarin Cup and World Championship gold in the past.
The one-year deal that he signed with the Devils made Yakovlev an unrestricted free agent again this summer, but the North American professional grind was obviously not a perfect fit. He’ll likely be brought up once again in a couple of years as a potential option for teams looking at outside defensive help.