The Florida Panthers might get a chance to boost their play on the blueline as Igor Eronko of Sport-Express reports that KHL defenseman Artyom Sergeyev has informed his team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, that he intends to sign with the Panthers when his KHL contract expires on May 1.
The 27-year-old defensive defenseman has played in the KHL for the past five years. He has played the last two years for Salaat Yulaev Ufa, where he has scored eight goals and 21 points in 110 games. He’s also no stranger to North America as he played three years in the QMJHL with the Val-d’Or Foreurs and then played two seasons with the Syracuse Crunch in the Tampa Bay Lightning system from 2013-15. Unfortunately, Sergeyev never got a chance at the NHL while there and was even sent to the Florida Everblades of the ECHL at one point in 2015, before opting to return to Russia.
The Panthers struggled defensively last season as they were tied for third in the league with the most goals allowed per game, 3.25, while allowing the 10th most shots in the league at 32.3. That didn’t help newly signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who struggled in his first season after signing a seven-year, $70MM contract. He finished the season with a career worst 3.23 GAA and a .900 save percentage. The hope is that Sergeyev can take some of the pressure off Bobrovsky.