Whitney signs in KHL


Defenseman Ryan Whitney has signed with the KHL’s HC Sochi per the league’s Twitter account.

Whitney attended St. Louis Blues camp on a tryout for the second consecutive year, but was released by the team.

Originally the fifth overall selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2002, Whitney has appeared in 481 games with Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Anaheim and Florida where he registered 259 points and 383 penalty minutes.

The 31-year-old was a member of the U.S. Olympic team which won silver at the 2010 games in Vancouver.

Whitney joked on Twitter following the deal that, after his experience in Vancouver, Sochi was the goal.

Whitney’s deal with the KHL club is for one season.

Report: Leino signs in KHL


After failing to make the Boston Bruins roster while on a camp invite, Ville Leino has reportedly signed in the KHL.

According to Sportnet’s Chris Johnston, Leino has signed with Medvescak Zagreb in the Russian league.

Leino was bought out of the final three years of his six-year, $27 million contract by the Buffalo Sabres in the summer.

The undrafted forward has appeared in 286 NHL games scoring 40 goals and 119 points with the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres.

Leino is no stranger to playing in Europe. Prior to joining the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins for the 2008-09 season, the 31-year-old spent six years playing professionally in Finland.

Kontiola: ‘I’ve got to make that money at some point’


For those who don’t remember Petri Kontiola, he’s the Finnish forward, who bought himself out of the final year of his contract, to return to the NHL.

It sounded like a good plan on paper. Kontiola, 30, spent roughly $500,000 of his own money to leave the KHL and sign a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

However, injuries he was battling throughout the summer forced the Leafs to assign him to the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies.

“There are always things that players have to adjust to,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle told reporters last week following Kontola’s assignment. “We felt that he had a good start to camp, but once the pace of the camp, and the exhibition games got up there, that he wasn’t up to speed.

“He has been dealing with some injuries over the course of the last three months, he has some issues in that area, but we’re not in a position here to wait, we have to move forward.”

Originally a seventh-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2004, Kontiola appeared in just 12 games for the Blackhawks during the 2007-08 season registering five assists.

Much of his first tour in North America was spent in the AHL with both the Rockford IceHogs and the Iowa Chops. Kontiola packed up and headed for the KHL following the 2008-09 season, but once again has the desire to play in North America and the NHL.

“That’s my goal,” he said of the NHL, despite starting the season Saturday in the AHL.

Kontiola also dispelled rumors he considered returning to Europe after things didn’t workout with the Leafs.

“I’m here right now, and I just want to get up there,” he said in regards to moving up to the NHL.

Kontiola also cleared up any health concerns saying, “I had something during the summer, but it’s all gone now and I’m ready to go.”

As for Carlyle’s comments about him not being up to speed at Leafs camp, Kontiola said, “I had my own reasons there. But I think I’m ready to play right now and just trying to work on my game.”

He joked, “I’ve got to make that money at some point” when asked whether he had any regrets buying out the final year of his deal in the KHL, but given his age and the money spent, there was likely quite a bit of truth there.

Though being so close to the NHL, affiliated with the Leafs, Kontiola appears quite far from being recalled by Toronto.

Toronto is deep at the forward position. Both Carter Ashton and Josh Leivo were healthy scratches for the season opener on Wednesday and Toronto acquired Richard Panik off waivers from Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Report: McBain signs in KHL

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, defenseman Jamie McBain has signed with Omsk in the KHL.

McBain, who was a restricted free agent following the 2013-14 season, was not tendered a qualifying offer by the Buffalo Sabres, which made him an unrestricted free agent.

Originally a second round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes (63rd overall in 2006), McBain, 26, has appeared in 275 NHL games with the Hurricanes and Sabres where he’s scored 25 goals and 92 points.

The Edina, MN native was released from his camp tryout by the Arizona Coyotes Sept. 27.

McBain is no stranger to playing overseas, he spent seven games with the Pelicans of the Finnish Elite League during the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

Report: Sopel to attend AHL camp in Chicago


According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel is back in Chicago attending camp with the American Hockey League’s Wolves.

Sopel, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, spent the past three seasons in the KHL with Metallurg and Salavat Yulaev.

Originally a sixth-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 1995, Sopel has 218 points in 659 career NHL games.

In addition to the Canucks and Blackhawks, Sopel spent time with the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens.

The Wolves’ camp begins Monday.