Washington forward Ryan Stoa has signed with KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk, per Russian news outlet Sport-42.ru.
Stoa, 27, joined the Caps last year and appeared in three games at the NHL level, spending most of his time with AHL Hershey. He actually had a very solid season for the Bears — 16 goals and 40 points in 67 games — and his move to Russia caught Bears beat writer Tim Leone off guard:
A little surprised by Stoa’s move to KHL. Coming off last season, thought he could have still garnered an NHL deal. Surely more $ in KHL.
— Tim Leone (@timleone) June 26, 2014
A former standout at the University of Minnesota, Stoa — the 34th overall pick in 2005 — toiled in the Colorado organization for several years before leaving to join the Caps. He’s never really lived up to the promise he showed as the developmental stage; a member of the 2007 U.S. Junior team that won bronze (and featured the likes of Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk and Kyle Okposo), Stoa has appeared in just 37 career NHL games since making his debut in 2009-10.
Update: Stoa’s agent, Neil Sheehy, shot down the report via Twitter…
All media reports today that Hershey Bears/Washington Capitals player Ryan Stoa signed/or agreed to terms with the KHL are FALSE.
Per Penn Live, Stoa indicated the Russian report was, at the very least, extremely premature:
“I haven’t signed yet,” Stoa said. “I don’t know where it came from or what. We’re kind of looking at options, but that’s not true.”
Stoa, who has played for Hershey the past two seasons, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He said his first priority remains to try to re-sign with the Bears and Washington Capitals.
“Obviously, I want to come back to Hershey,” Stoa said.