While Sharks prospect Alexei Melnichuk opted to pursue a career in North America and left the KHL back in May, his playing days at home aren’t quite done yet. Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod of the KHL announced (Twitter link) that they’ve added the goaltender on a loan agreement from San Jose. This comes on the heels of Torpedo acquiring his KHL rights in exchange for the rights to Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
Melnichuk had several teams pursuing him back in the spring following a dazzling season with SKA St. Petersburg that saw him post a 1.68 GAA and a .930 SV% in 16 KHL contests. He was almost as good while playing a level lower in the VHL with a 1.95 GAA and a .925 SV% in eight contests down there.
The move will give him an opportunity to stay in playing shape and should help give him an edge as he tries to make a push to earn a spot with the Sharks for next season. With Aaron Dell set to become an unrestricted free agent next week, there is a vacancy between the pipes for San Jose and if they don’t fill it with a veteran, Melnichuk could have a strong opportunity to see NHL action next season.