By going with the option to “self-depart,” Slava Voynov is leaving the Los Angeles Kings and heading back to Russia.
Voynov released a statement via his agent, Rolland Hedges, sharing the stunning (yet perhaps foreseeable?) decision:
“Earlier today, I notified the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association and the Los Angeles Kings of my decision to immediately begin the formal process of returning to Russia with my family. I sincerely apologize to those in and around the game of hockey who have been affected by my situation, and I also wish the players of the LA Kings success in the future.”
The OC Register’s Rich Hammond reports that this decision may allow Voynov to return to North America at some point in the future:
Also, Hammond notes that this isn’t quite a done deal, although the process is likely to be completed.
As far as Voynov’s money goes, it appears that the Kings are free of that burden:
As Puck Daddy reports, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirms that there will be “no cap charge” for the Kings.
Update: The Kings released a statement regarding Voynov, which you can read more about here.
Also, Hammond explains that Voynov is going to self-depart, not self-deport:
Slava Voynov has been moved from jail to an unspecified detention facility by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Voynov, who is a Russian citizen, will have a hearing with an immigration judge, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times reported that the Los Angeles Kings have declined to comment on this latest development.
Voynov began his jail sentence on July 7 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.
The 25-year-old defenseman hasn’t played in the NHL since Oct. 6 because he was suspended by the league.
He has also been recovering from a ruptured Achilles, but LA Kings Insider stated back in July, “the expectation, based on multiple conversations with those in hockey operations, is that he’ll be a part of the blue line when he recovers from a ruptured Achilles. There are still major impediments in the way of him putting on a Kings jersey again.”
Los Angeles lost defensemen Andrej Sekera as an unrestricted free agent this summer and Robyn Regehr has retired, but the Kings did sign Christian Ehrhoff to a one-year, $1.5 million deal.
Back in July, Edmonton made an intriguing, under-the-radar move by acquiring the rights to KHL goalie Anders Nilsson.
The deal didn’t garner much attention, possibly because the Oilers had already made a bigger splash in goal — trading for ex-Rangers backup Cam Talbot at the draft — and, of course, they still had Ben Scrivens in the mix.
But the attention could soon be on Nilsson.
“My mindset is to challenge for the No. 1 job,” the Swedish stopper told the Edmonton Journal. “That’s why I signed the one-year contract and it’s up to me to perform.”
Nilsson, 25, is an interesting entity.
Picked 62nd overall by the Isles in 2009, he appeared in 23 games for New York over three seasons before signing with KHL team AK Bars Kazan last summer. A few months later, the Isles traded Nilsson’s rights — he was an RFA upon leaving for Russia — to Chicago, as part of the Nick Leddy deal.
In Russia, Nilsson boosted his stock by going 20-9-8 with a 1.71 GAA and .936 save percentage. He also played for Team Sweden at the 2015 Worlds, splitting time with Jhonas Enroth.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder signed with Edmonton almost immediately upon being acquired, seemingly determined to resurrect his NHL career. With the Oilers, he’s projected to battle Scrivens for the No. 2 gig behind Talbot — who, tentatively, is penciled in as the No. 1 — but if the last few years in Edmonton have shown anything, it’s that minutes in net are constantly up for grabs.