After another solid performance at the IIHF World Championship, Kristers Gudlevskis is staying at home. The Latvian netminder has re-signed with Dinamo Riga of the KHL, ending any speculation that he may revisit an NHL career this season. Gudlevskis became a Group VI unrestricted free agent when his last contract expired in 2018 with the New York Islanders, and decided to return to Latvia after struggling to find much NHL opportunity.
The 26-year old goaltender was originally selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2013, and actually made his NHL debut the following season. Despite that quick entrance into the North American landscape, Gudlevskis battled through five seasons in the AHL and only received two other NHL appearances. Last season he returned to the KHL where he posted a .910 save percentage even on a poor Riga team, before suiting up for the national team in his fourth World Championship.
It didn’t seem likely that there was much of an NHL opportunity for Gudlevskis this offseason, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be down the road. We have recently seen Mikko Koskinen return after several years abroad to land a multi-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers despite little NHL experience. Perhaps Gudlevskis can pull of the same feat, though he’ll need to find even more success in the KHL.