The hot free agent target from the KHL this season? It turns out that it’s a defenseman for a change. On TSN’s “Insider Trading” segment, Darren Dreger states that there at least three NHL teams with interest in SKA St. Petersburg standout Artyom Zub. One of those clubs is confirmed to be the Ottawa Senators, with GM Pierre Dorion currently over in Russia meeting with the intriguing blue liner. All indications point to Zub signing in the NHL after this season.
Zub, 24, is a comparable player to current Senator Nikita Zaitsev, says Dreger. The young defenseman is a right shot and plays a strong defensive game, rather than opting for offensive flash like many of his KHL counterparts. However, Zub may be taking a step toward rounding out his game, as he has already far surpassed his career high in points with 19 and counting this season. A fixture on the international stage for Russia and one of the more dominant defensive players in the KHL, Zub is already very accomplished for his age, and has the mature game to match.
Zub’s consistent defensive play has likely had him on NHL radars for some time, but his offensive outbreak comes at the right time, as his current contract with SKA comes to an end. Dreger reports that the defender will not make a decision, at least publicly, on his future until after the KHL season, as he remains focused on St. Petersburg’s division-leading record and Gagarin Cup hopes. However, when the time does come, Dreger says that Zub is already in the final stages of making the call on his next team and he could make his NHL destination known almost immediately after his season ends.