Last offseason, defenseman Oliwer Kaski was one of the more sought after players in international free agency. He was coming off of a stellar performance with Pelicans of the SM-liiga that helped him earn a spot on Finland’s entry into the World Championships which helped lead him to a contract with Detroit, a team that had some vacancies on their back end to fill.
However, things didn’t go quite as planned. He was sent to the AHL during training camp and never made it up, even after a midseason trade to Carolina. As a result, Kaski has decided to head back overseas as Avangard Omsk of the KHL announced that they’ve signed the blueliner to a one-year contract.
The 24-year-old played in 19 games with Detroit’s AHL affiliate, collecting just five points before being dealt to the Hurricanes for minor league rearguard Kyle Wood. The swap seemed to get Kaski going offensively as in 35 games with the Checkers, he had 11 goals and nine assists. Having said that, Carolina has a very deep defense corps so the opportunity to get a chance to suit up in the NHL wasn’t likely coming.
As a restricted free agent this summer, Carolina can retain Kaski’s NHL rights this offseason by tendering him a qualifying offer. A strong showing in the KHL could certainly get him back on the NHL radar so with there being no downside to qualifying him, it’s a move that the Hurricanes should make when the offseason arrives.