It’s the same old song and dance for Konstantin Okulov, who has once again signed in the KHL instead of coming to North America. The free agent forward has signed a one-year deal with CSKA Moscow according to Eric Engels of Sportsnet. The contract also includes another option year for 2022-23.
Okulov, 26, has been pursued by NHL organizations for several years, most notably the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs. Just last month Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet wrote that teams were once again showing interest in him, but that will have to wait at least another year. You can understand why the NHL is coming to call, after another outstanding season in the KHL. Okulov scored 18 goals and 49 points for CSKA, adding another 20 in the playoffs to lead the entire league.
In the absence of Kirill Kaprizov from the Moscow roster this season, Okulov stepped into even more spotlight and led the charge offensively. His 49 points were 14 more than the next highest scorer on the team and he was a force in the postseason. The fact that he only turned 26 a few months ago is important in this case, as Okulov would still be limited to the entry-level contract system in the NHL. For now, teams will have to wait and hope he makes a different decision in the coming years.