New York Islanders forward Leo Komarov is far from a free agent. Not only is the veteran still actively playing with the Islanders this season, who hope to have a long playoff run ahead of them as well, but Komarov also has one year left on his current deal. Yet, that hasn’t stopped European clubs from making their interest known, should Komarov be bought out by New York this off-season. After all, Komarov had landed on waivers thrice this season and has just four points in 21 games. The Islanders could easily see the upside in opening up more than $1MM in savings next season by buying out the remaining year and $3MM cap hit of Komarov’s contract. There would not likely be much NHL interest in the 34-year-old either if he hits the open market this summer, hence the push from European suitors already. Just how far has the early courting process already come? Finnish hockey insider Markus Nuutinen reports that Komarov actually has a handshake agreement in place for next season in the event he is bought out by the Islanders, but it isn’t in his native Finland. Instead, Komarov is expected to return to the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow, the same club he was with prior to beginning his NHL career back in 2012-13. There are obviously no terms available yet for this unofficial agreement, but it would come as little surprise if a Komarov reunion with Moscow does come to fruition.
- Though most Detroit Red Wings fans have likely forgotten or are unaware of the name Alexander Kadeykin, the club is assuredly keeping tabs on him. Unfortunately, they will not have the opportunity to negotiate with the KHL forward for yet another year. Following a career year with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, in which he set new highs in goals and points, Kadeykin has signed a one-year extension to remain with Ufa, the club announced. It certainly didn’t hurt his extension chances that Kadeykin was second on the team in postseason scoring, as Ufa made it to the conference semifinals of the Gagarin Cup. Kadeykin, 27, was a seventh-round pick of the Red Wings in 2014 and since he has never made the move overseas, he remains under indefinite team control. One more year in the KHL does not completely rule out the chances that he will ever sign with Detroit, but with each passing year it grows more and more unlikely. Should Kadeykin finally decide to try his hand in the world’s top league, the 6’5″, 220-lb. center with ever-improving offensive numbers would certainly be a name to watch.
- Anaheim Ducks defensive prospect Thimo Nickl returned to Europe this season after spending last year in the QMJHL, a decision that was likely spurred by numerous factors. The young blue liner initially signed with the U-20 club of Rogle BK, but that was a short-lived stint. After recording five points in his first nine games at the junior level, Nickl was recalled to the SHL squad and has never looked back. In fact, Rogle has been so impressed with the 19-year-old that they have signed him to a one-year extension on an SHL contract. This is unlikely to bother the Ducks at all; a 2020 fourth-round pick out of Austria, Nickl was not expected to push for a spot in the organization any time soon. Playing against pro competition in Sweden, and more so finding success, is surely a developmental path that Anaheim is content to let him follow. The next challenge for Nickl will be postseason play, with the SHL playoffs approaching and Rogle sitting pretty in second place.