This time it’s Columbus forward Artem Anisimov, returning home to play for the club team of his youth, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
The news was made official early Thursday morning by Lokomotiv’s official Twitter account, announcing that Animisov — who played for the club at the junior and senior levels before joining the New York Rangers — would return to bolster a squad devastated by the 2011 air disaster.
Anisimov will join a number of ex-NHLers in Yaroslavl. Viktor Kozlov, Mark Flood, Nicklas Hagman, Staffan Kronwall, Curtis Sanford, Sami Lepisto and Vitaly Vishnevsky are already with the team and it’s possible other current NHLers could follow suit, given the large number that have already signed on to play in the KHL.
The 24-year-old Russian is in the final year of a two-year, $3.75 million extension signed with the Rangers in 2011. Now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets — by way of the Rick Nash trade — Anisimov finds himself in a precarious situation.
He’s entering a contract year, with a new team, but has yet to debut for the Jackets because of the lockout and is now taking the added risk of playing overseas.