Minnesota Wild prospect Matvey Guskov has reversed course on his development plan, and in a big way. The 19-year-old Russian forward, a fifth-round pick in 2019, has spent the past two seasons in the OHL with the London Knights. Even after an off-season trade to the North Bay Battalion, there was no indication that Guskov planned to leave North America. Whether due to the delayed start to the OHL season or for some other reason, that has now changed. Guskov has signed with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow, the top team of the program that he grew up in. However, this is not just until the OHL season resumes or even just for the 2020-21 season. CSKA has announced a three-year contract with Guskov, keeping him in Russia – and away from Minnesota – until at least 2023. The Wild are no strangers to playing the waiting game with Russian prospects; the club was finally able to sign 2015 pick turned KHL superstar Kirill Kaprizov this year. CSKA is one of the KHL’s best clubs and Guskov could very well beneift from his time spent there. However, it has to be frustrating for Minnesota to have another talented player skip out of team control and into the Russian void, especially one that seemed committed to the North American development route.
- Since he was selected in the second round by the Carolina Hurricanes, things have not gone according to plan for goaltender Petr Kotchetkov. The Hurricanes were happy to take the overager early in the second round in 2019 after he dominated the Russian minor league VHL and looked strong in a pair of KHL starts. However, he failed to take a step forward last season; his VHL numbers improved, but he struggled in his KHL opportunities and was eventually traded away by powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg. His play improved somewhat with Vityaz Podolsk, but he was still demoted to the junior-level MHL for some time as well, where he continued to struggle. So far this season, Kotchetkov had played exclusively on the KHL with Vityaz, however his play has again failed to live up to expectations. As a result, Kotchektov has been demoted to the VHL. He is headed back to HK Ryazan, the same team he made his name with in his draft year, showing full circle how the prospect has failed to improve since then. With a very weak pipeline in net and questions at the NHL level in the immediate future, the Hurricanes need to decide whether Kotchetkov, 21, is still their potential goalie of the future and if so may need to bring him over to North America soon to try to get him back on track.
- Defenseman Paul Postma has been unable to stay in one place for very long since leaving the NHL and is on the move again. The veteran over more than 200 NHL games with the Winnipeg Jets and Boston Bruins, Postma left North America 2017-18 after he was used sparingly by the Bruins. He landed with the KHL’s Ak Bars Kazan, where he was an All-Star and one of the best defensemen in the league in 2018-19. He jumped to Metallurg Magnitogosk last summer on a lucrative one-year deal, but ended up leaving the club early in the season. He eventually signed with HC Lugano of the Swiss NLA where he was again a productive player on the blue line. Yet, Postma opted not to stay in Switzerland either. Possibly waiting for an NHL offer, Postma has remained a free agent well into the seasons of many European leagues. He has finally landed with Austrian club Klagenfurter AC, where he should again be a dominant presence on a one-year deal. What happens after this contract expires is anyone’s guess, but Postma should have his pick in Europe if the interest in North America continues to be underwhelming.