The KHL presents an opportunity for professional hockey players who can’t seem to get a chance in the NHL, as it will for Viktor Loov. The former Toronto Maple Leafs prospect has bounced around the AHL the last few seasons, but will now head to Finland to join Jokerit for the 2018-19 KHL season. Loov signed a one-year deal, though at 25 with just four NHL games under his belt it seems unlikely that he’ll get a real opportunity in the future.
It can also be a development league for players who find themselves somewhere between the CHL and AHL, and that’s what Eemeli Rasanen will use it as. The Maple Leafs second-round pick from 2017 has signed a two-year deal with Jokerit and will begin his professional career in the KHL. Rasanen, a towering 6’7″ defenseman with good offensive skills, will get to go home to Finland while continuing his development.
Though he was drafted out of the CHL, Rasanen’s rights are likely now owned by the Maple Leafs for four seasons. As CapFriendly points out, that depends on whether the Maple Leafs extended a Bona Fide offer over the last year, something we can’t be sure of just yet. Still, one can assume that the team had discussed everything with him lately as Rasanen began practicing with the Toronto Marlies after his junior season (and, as we now learn, career) ended earlier this spring.