The six-foot-one, 188-pound Russian scored 61 goals and assisted on 91 for 152 points in 62 regular-season games and led the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup title last May.
Others demoted on the eve of the opening of the new season included Danny Paille, the former captain of Canada’s national junior team, and Marc-Antoine Pouliot, a former teammate of Sidney Crosby with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic.
The Buffalo Sabres sent Paille, 22, of Welland, Ont., back to the AHL’s Rochester Americans. He had a goal and two assists in 14 games with the Sabres last season, and 14 goals and 13 assists in 45 AHL games. He was Buffalo’s first-round draft pick, 20th overall, in 2002.
The Edmonton Oilers assigned Pouliot to the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The 21-year-old centre had 15 goals and 31 assists with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs last season. He scored one goal in eight games with the Oilers. He was selected in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 2003 entry draft.
The Minnesota Wild assigned goaltender Josh Harding to the AHL’s Houston Aeros in opting to go with Niklas Backstrom as their backup. Harding, 22, of Regina started three games for the Wild last season and was the backup to Manny Fernandez after Dwayne Roloson was traded. Harding was 29-8-0 in 38 games with the Aeros. Backstrom, 28, had spent his entire pro career in his native Finland.
The Calgary Flames assigned forward Eric Godard and defenceman Brad Ference to Omaha of the AHL.
Ottawa assigned defencemen Jamie Allison, Andy Hedlund and Tomas Malec and forward Serge Payer to the AHL’s Binghamton Senators after they cleared waivers Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Kings sent goaltender Jason LaBarbera and right-winger Lauri Tukonen to their Manchester, N.H., AHL affiliate.
The Colorado Avalanche claimed right-winger George Parros off waivers from the Kings.