A second young Edmonton player has left the organization to sign in Russia.
Roman Horak, the Czech center acquired from the Flames in last year’s Ladislav Smid trade, has signed for Vityaz Podolsk of the KHL, the club announced on Monday.
Horak, 22, was originally a Rangers draftee and dealt to Calgary in 2011. He enjoyed his best NHL season with the Flames in 2011-12, scoring 11 points in 61 games — as a 20-year-old — before scoring seven points in 20 games during the 2012-13 season.
Horak struggled to get in the lineup with Edmonton, however, making just two appearances while spending the majority of his time in AHL Oklahoma City — where he performed quite well. Horak had 21 goals and 48 points in 53 games for the Barons this year.
As mentioned above, Horak wasn’t the only Oiler to leave for the KHL this offseason. Defenseman Anton Belov also departed to sign with SKA St. Petersburg and, shortly after leaving, said part of his reason for going to Russia is that he no longer wanted to play under Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins.
Anton Belov’s sudden departure from the Edmonton Oilers for the KHL came out of nowhere.
The young Russian defenseman had just finished his first season in the NHL and looked to be someone the team could use in the future for their struggling blue line.
But why did he leave so suddenly? Turns out he wasn’t a big fan of coach Dallas Eakins.
Things were bad in Edmonton this season as the team finished with the third-worst record in the NHL. Eakins’ handle on things in his first season behind the bench for the Oilers always appeared to be a bit too interesting. Belov saying he didn’t want to play for him won’t help many with their opinion of either Eakins or Belov. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Belov played 57 games with Edmonton this season and had a goal and six assists and averaged nearly 18 minutes per game of ice time. After taking off after a tough season, it might be a while before we see Belov back in the NHL, if he comes back at all.
The Anton Belov era in Edmonton is over.
Belov, who appeared in 57 games for the Oilers last season — his first with the club — has signed with KHL SKA St. Petersburg, the club announced on Wednesday. While the move isn’t groundbreaking, the timing is curious as it came just four days after Belov played 12:05 in Edmonton’s season-ending win over Vancouver.
The 27-year-old Russian d-man joined the Oilers this year after spending all of his previous professional career in Russia, primarily with Avangard Omsk. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder impressed NHL scouts while representing Team Russia at the 2013 World Hockey Championships, finishing with four points in eight games and a plus-8 rating and was believed to be pursued by a number of clubs, including the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Belov scored one goal and seven points for the Oilers this season, missing 11 games with an oblique injury.
In addition to playing for Edmonton, Belov also suited up for Russia at the Winter Olympics in Sochi this past February. He appeared in all five of Russia’s games, scoring one goal while averaging just over 13 minutes per contest.