After just one season in the NHL, Nikolai Prokhorkin is going home. The Los Angeles Kings forward’s entry-level contract is set to expire, but he won’t be re-signing with the team. Instead, he has inked a two-year deal in the KHL with Magnitogorsk.
The 26-year old forward has had quite an interesting relationship with the Kings over the years, dating back to their selection of him in 2012. Prokhorkin quickly signed with the organization a few months after being drafted and actually came over to play eight games with the Manchester Monarchs at the start of the 2012-13 season. Unfortunately, his contract was then ruled invalid, sending him back to the KHL and starting a long breakup between the two sides.
Prokhorkin would spend the next seven years in the KHL, playing for three different organizations before coming back to the NHL this past season. He signed his new entry-level contract in May of last year and ended up playing 43 games for the Kings. With four goals and 14 points, he at least will get to say that he held his own at the highest level in North America. Whether he ever comes back is a different story.
Normally with restricted free agents that leave for other leagues, the NHL team is able to retain their rights with a qualifying offer and try to sign them again down the road. Unfortunately in this case given his age, those rights will expire before the Kings have a chance to re-sign Prokhorkin, meaning this is ultimately going to leave him an unrestricted free agent in 2022 able to sign with any NHL organization.