Sergei Shumakov was applauded for sticking with North American hockey when his contract with the Washington Capitals was terminated earlier this month. It turns out he wasn’t that committed to staying on the continent. Just eleven days after signing with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, Shumakov has jumped ship in favor of a return to the KHL. Avangard Omsk have announced that they have signed Shumakov to a three-year contract.
Shumakov, 26, made headlines when he signed with the Capitals this off-season. The talented forward had been playing for Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL since he was a teenager, before moving to CSKA Moscow last year. Shumakov helped CSKA to a finals appearance behind a 40-point effort and +28 rating in 47 regular season games and another four points in eleven postseason games. Many felt that would be a good fit in Washington, a team that has had great success with Russian players. However, Shumakov was unable to earn a spot on the Capitals roster in training camp and was relegated to beginning his North American career with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. Shumakov recorded four points in ten games with the Bears before requesting his release from Washington. Shumakov then joined the Thunderbirds, perhaps hoping he might earn another shot at the NHL with their parent club, the Florida Panthers, or another team, and added one point in three games.
However, when Avangard came calling with a lucrative, long-term contract, Shumakov likely couldn’t resist a return to the league that he so recently excelled in. Omsk is currently a top five team in the KHL and leading the Chernyshev Division. They add Shumakov to a roster that already boasts a number of NHL alumni, including veteran defensemen Cody Franson, Alexei Emelin, and Evgeny Medvedev and experienced scorers Sergei Shirokov, David Desharnais, Maxime Talbot, and Viktor Stalberg. Shumakov should fit right in with this group and make Omsk and even more dangerous team this season and beyond in the KHL.