Vadim Shipachyov saga finally ends for Vegas Golden Knights

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The Vadim Shipachyov era in Vegas has officially come to a close and the 30-year-old Russian will forever be known as the first player to retire as a Golden Knight.

As part of an agreement between the Knights, NHL and NHLPA, Shipachyov has voluntarily retired from the NHL. General manager George McPhee said he had a trade in place but the player wanted to go home. In order for the move to be completed, the center needed to pay back all but $86,000 of his $2 million signing bonus.

“Sometimes it just doesn’t work,” McPhee said. “Sometimes the player you see in Europe isn’t the player you see here, and that’s the risk you take when you sign them and you’re hoping that it works out and it doesn’t always work out.”

His salary is now completely off their books and Vegas now has an open spot on their roster.

All signs points to Shipachyov returning to SKA, a powerhouse in the KHL, despite an attempt by his hometown club Severstal to lure him back.


Shipachyov signed a two-year, $9 million deal with Vegas in May, but spent his first month of this season shipped back and forth between Sin City and their AHL affiliate in Chicago. He would play only three games with the Golden Knights before seeking a way to return home.

The Shipachyov drama clearly didn’t affect the Golden Knights as they started their inaugural campaign with a 7-3-1 record in October.

“He needed to play,” McPhee said. “Everyone here was playing better than he was. He needed to play and we were willing to have him play in Chicago.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.