Nikolai Kulemin’s NHL career is over for the time being, as the 31-year old has signed with Magnitogorsk in the KHL. As TSN relays, it is a multi-year deal worth around $3.2MM per season, which is actually a step down from the salary he’d been earning in the NHL. Kulemin signed a four-year $16.75MM contract with the New York Islanders in 2014, and was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ second round pick from 2006 played just 13 games for the Islanders this season, recording three points. A one-time 30-goal scorer, Kulemin was never able to repeat that kind of success and will leave the NHL with 274 points in 669 games. There’s no guarantee his career in North America is finished for good, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we never saw him on this side of the ocean again.
- Nate Schmidt has turned into an elite defenseman for the Vegas Golden Knights, logging huge minutes on a nightly basis and controlling the game during the playoffs. If you were a Washington Capitals fan upset when they lost him in the expansion draft, know that GM Brian MacLellan tried (and failed) to get him back right away. In Isabelle Khurshudyan and Jesse Doughtery’s latest piece for the Washington Post, Vegas GM George McPhee reveals that Washington immediately tried to reacquire the young defenseman, but that the Golden Knights valued him so highly that they made a deal impossible for the Capitals to accept. Schmidt will take on his former club in the Stanley Cup Finals starting tonight, where he’ll be asked to shut down some of the most dangerous forwards in the league.
- The Edmonton Oil Kings have relieved head coach Steve Hamilton and assistant coach Ryan Marsh of their duties, meaning a new staff will be taking over the WHL team next season. That staff might have to be hired by a new GM too, as the team also announced that GM Randy Hansch will be joining an NHL team as an amateur scout after July 1st. The Oil Kings finished dead last in the WHL this season with a 22-42-8 record, and scored the fewest while allowing the most goals in the league. It was a disastrous year, but as we’ve seen many times at the junior level before they could be in for a quick rebuild. The team selected 15-year old Dylan Guenther first overall in the recent bantam draft, and will hope he can lead the team back to prominence in the coming years.