We have probably seen the last of Nikita Soshnikov. After his contract was terminated by the New York Islanders, the minor league forward officially signed with HC Traktor in the KHL. The new deal will continue through the 2023-24 season, meaning he would be 31 by the time a return to North America was possible.
Like so many other undrafted Russian forwards, Soshnikov showed NHL-level talent but found it difficult to carve out a regular role in the league. After putting up a 32-point season for Moscow Oblast Atlant in 2014-15, he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs and quickly rose the depth chart.
That year, he scored 18 goals for the Toronto Marlies but also had five points in 11 games with the rebuilding Maple Leafs. The next season, as the club turned to an extremely young lineup, he played in 56 NHL games but was only able to record nine points.
It still seemed like he would stick, but that season ended up being more than half of his career appearances. A few more games for Toronto, an unsuccessful stint in St. Louis, and Soshnikov was back to the KHL, where he once again showed he could score at a high level.
This season he tried the NHL again, convinced by Lou Lamoriello for a second time, and ended up in just three games with the Islanders. For his career, Soshnikov scored 16 points in 90 games.