Feb 1: After clearing waivers and having his NHL contract terminated, Levtchi has re-joined his former club team Tappara in Finland.
Jan 30: The Florida Panthers have placed Anton Levtchi on unconditional waivers, according to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. If he clears, the remainder of his contract will be terminated, allowing him to pursue other opportunities.
You can understand why Levtchi might be regretting his decision to come to North America, given how successful he has been in Finland the last few years. He led Liiga in scoring with 26 goals and 61 points last season, only to find himself mostly in the minor leagues this year.
Through 35 games with the Charlotte Checkers, he has eight goals and 17 points, and has seen just two games with the Panthers. With no points to show for it, his NHL career might come to an end without him ever hitting the scoresheet.
Technically, a contract termination would let him sign with any other team in the league, but these are usually done with an agreement to return to Europe already in place. We’ll have to wait and see if Levtchi ever tries his luck in North America again.
He has been a good scorer in the Finnish league but he was left out of the Finnish selections for both the Olympics and the World Championships. So he wasn’t even considered one of the top Finnish forwards outside the NHL last season.
I think it’s worth taking the risk and sign a foreign free agent if the scouts like him, and the cost is just one contract slot. More often than not it does not pan out, though, and this signing just shows that.