According to Igor Eronko of Sport-Express, the rights of New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen have been traded in the KHL. Vatanen now belongs to Avangard Omsk, meaning he would have to sign with them if he ever decided to leave the NHL. Though this is by no means indicating that Vatanen is considering a move to the KHL—he has never given the slightest hint of desire to do so—it likely means he would have another suitor should he reach free agency after next season. There is an interesting history between the player and league, as Vatanen is the highest drafted Finnish player ever in KHL history, going second overall in 2010 (Aleksander Barkov was subsequently drafted second in 2012, before the draft was eliminated in 2016).
Vatanen is currently in the third season of a four-year $19.5MM contract signed with the Anaheim Ducks in 2016, and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020. The puck-moving defenseman was acquired by the Devils in exchange for Adam Henrique, but could potentially hit the open market as a sought after commodity given his offensive upside and handedness. The Devils will have to try to lock him up next season, or face strong competition from the NHL and KHL for his services.
- Colorado Avalanche prospect Nikolai Kovalenko has been registered to the Russian World Junior team, after the country left a few spots open this week. Kovalenko is currently playing in the KHL for Yaroslavl, and was selected in the sixth round by the Avalanche in 2018. Adding the shifty forward will leave just two spots left on the squad, which will kick off their tournament tomorrow afternoon against Denmark.
- Former NHL forward Michal Repik saw his contract terminated with HC Slovan today, and will instead play the rest of the year with Vityaz Podolsk. The 29-year old has had a long and interesting playing career which included a Memorial Cup title with Vancouver Giants, 72 mostly ineffective games in the NHL, and a recent appearance at the Olympics for the Czech Republic.