If you’re an NHL GM and were hoping you might get to take an inexpensive flier out on Maxim Afinogenov this season, your luck just ran out. Russian newspaper SovSport is reporting this morning that Afinogenov has signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL on a five-year contract (link is translated Russian). In there, there is video from a press conference introducing both Afinogenov and Denis Grebeshkov as the newest members of SKA St. Petersburg who represent two of the KHLs latest big steals from the NHL.
Losing Afinogenov from the NHL takes away one of the league’s pure offensive players. After Afinogenov had back-to-back poor seasons in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 in Buffalo, he rebounded to have a solid 2009-2010 season in Atlanta for the Thrashers scoring 24 goals and netting 37 assists. Those 61 points were 13 more points than he had the previous two seasons combined. No wonder he was booed every time he touched the puck in Buffalo last year. That said, it appeared that Afinogenov had turned his game back around and it’s unfortunate he won’t be sticking around in the NHL to show if that was indeed the case.
In joining SKA St. Petersburg, Afinogenov joins a team that’s loaded with now former NHL talent. While former Nashville defenseman Denis Grebeshkov joined him at this press conference, Evgeni Nabokov signed with the team earlier this summer and they all will join up with former Sens and Isles centerman Alexei Yashin. If you’ll be needing a fix to see all these players, the Carolina Hurricanes will be playing an exhibition against SKA St. Petersburg during their European tour on October 4th.