Dea was originally under contract with an NHL team for the 2023-24 campaign, but Dea and the Arizona Coyotes mutually terminated the deal in August in order for Dea to pursue an opportunity in the KHL.
Dea, 29, is an undrafted center who worked his way up from the ECHL to the NHL but had seen his call-up opportunities grow less frequent as he got closer to his thirties. Dea spent last year mostly with the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners, scoring a solid 23 goals and 50 points in 67 games. An established top-six quality AHLer, Dea has scored 50 or more points in the AHL three times.
Rather than remain in the AHL for another season where he might have potentially been called up once again, Dea elected to head overseas to pursue his first opportunity to play in a European professional league. Dea only managed six points in 18 KHL games for Metallurg, though, and his ice time had begun to slowly decline.
So rather than continue with Magnitogorsk, both the team and Dea have elected to end their business relationship.
It’s possible Dea returns to North America, where he would be a significant addition to the offensive attack of any club he signs with. It’s also possible Dea pursues other opportunities in Europe, though he may very well be weary of signing again in the KHL given how his first stint in that league has turned out.