The Atlanta Thrashers signed defenseman Andrei Zubarev to a two-way, two-year deal today according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Vivlamore reports that each year of the deal will earn him $625K if he plays on the NHL level and 62K if he remains at the minor league level.
Zubarev, 23, posted 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 55 games with HK Atlant of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia last season. He led team defensemen in goals, while ranking third in points and assists. The 6-1, 205-pound defenseman also appeared in four post-season games with Atlant.
The Ufa, Russia, native has spent the last two seasons with Atlant, recording 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 90 career games. Prior to joining the KHL, Zubarev spent parts of five seasons in the former Russian Super League from 2003 to 2008, earning 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 110 career games with Salavat Yulaev Ufa and Ak Bars Kazan.
Zubarev was the Thrashers sixth round pick in 2005. It’s a pretty crowded blueline in Atlanta, with Ron Hainsey, Tobias Enstrom, Johnny Oduya, Zach Bogosian, Brent Sopel, Boris Valabik and Freddy Meyer (among others?) likely ahead of Zubarev on their depth chart. That being said, it’s a two-way deal so the Thrashers have plenty of flexibility if Zubarev isn’t ready for the big-time yet.