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Bruins’ prospect Yuri Alexandrov leaves for KHL

August 26, 2011

Alexandrov with Cherepovets before coming to North America.

UPDATE: It’s a debacle for the KHL now, too. According to the linked report (in Russian) the KHL hearing on August 23rd that declared Alexandrov to be a free agent is being contested by Nicolai Pyatunin, GM of Alexandrov’s former club, Severstal. Pyatunin claims his team owns Alexandrov’s rights still, and that his signing with SKA is in violation of league policy. Apparently Alexandrov returned to Cherepovets at the end of last season and trained and practiced with the team, vowing to return if he didn’t establish himself in Providence/Boston. Pyatunin compared the situation to that of Semyon Varlamov, who was caught between Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and SKA earlier in the summer when talk erupted of him leaving the NHL. But many look at big market teams like SKA and see their power to influence as unjust to the KHL as a whole. t’s unclear what’s next and what sort of recourse Severstal Cherepovets has in the matter. Again, still no update from the Bruins organization as of this hour about Alexandrov’s status, whether the transfer had their blessing, etc.

***

Yuri (or Yury, as different organizations put it) Alexandrov is headed for greener pastures with SKA St Petersburg of the KHL. According to reports this morning, he has signed with the club. Alexandrov joins a strong team in SKA, one that challenges the Bobrov division with Petr Prucha, Maxim Afinogenov and Evgeny Artyukhin.

Alexandrov was drafted by the Bruins in 2006 in the second round, 37th overall, out of Cherepovets of the KHL (and formerly RSL). He went 6-15-21 through 56 games in his final season with the team in 2009-2010. He played his first season in North America this past year for the Providence Bruins, posting modest totals, of 6-13-19 in 66 games.

The Bruins have yet to release an announcement on the matter. SKA posted a release to their website earlier today (in Russian). It states that Alexandrov signed a two-year deal with the team, whilst Blackhawks prospect Igor Makarov (drafted 33rd overall in 2006) signed a three-year deal.

Alexandrov was in year two of a two-year, two-way deal with the Bruins. Whether the recently signed “Memorandum of Understanding” between the KHL and NHL affected the outcome of his transfer, we don’t yet know. The Bruins would presumably hold his rights upon his return. Alexandrov has shown great promise, and this year was largely viewed as his induction and transitional year into the North American style of play. That said, one can’t help but wonder if the realization playing with the big club wouldn’t be happening soon could have dawned on him. Perhaps more seasoning in the KHL is what Alexandrov needed. Or perhaps that’s it for him in the NHL. A two-year deal seems to indicate as much. And after tasting the AHL for a year, Alexandrov may have decided it simply wasn’t for him. The Bruins haven’t had to deal with many situations of this nature, mainly because they haven’t drafted many Europeans, Russians specifically, during the Chiarelli era. Incidentally, though, the Bruins drafted another defenseman from Cherepovets, Maxim Chudinov, who remains with the club and continues to make progress there.

Time will tell how this works out.

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