Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has officially inked a three-year deal with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg.
Voynov’s signing was announced Thursday, and says that Voynov, who hasn’t played in a professional game since Oct. 19, 2014, will begin skating with the team on Saturday. Without question, Voynov will be able to get into the lineup in time for SKA’s next game, as the KHL will hit a seven-day break come Nov. 3.
The 25-year-old blueliner hasn’t played in a professional contest since he suited up for the Kings on Oct. 19, 2014, the day before he was arrested and subsequently charged with domestic violence. The NHL suspended Voynov on Oct. 20, 2014, and he remains under suspension by the league. Voynov did practice with the Kings once, which was called an optional skate by the league. It led to a $100,000 fine for Los Angeles.
On Sept. 16, after Voynov’s 90-day jail sentence was complete and with a potential deportation hanging over his head, Voynov announced his intention to leave North America, the Kings and the NHL and return to Russia.
Voynov arrived in Russia on Sept. 22, but his ability to play in the KHL was held up because the rearguard’s rights were tied up by Traktor Chelyabinsk. Traktor was interested in signing Voynov, but he had the intention of playing for SKA. Before he could sign a deal with St. Petersburg, the team and Chelyabinsk had to work out an agreement. It took more than a month, but on Oct. 26, SKA announced they had acquired Voynov’s rights in exchange for cash.
“(Voynov has) decided to play SKA due to the fact that the club will compete for the Gagarin Cup,” Voynov’s agent Ravil Iskhakov told R-Sport in early October. “This will help Voynov prepare for matches for the national team of Russia.”
SKA currently sits in seventh place in the Western Conference and more than 20 points back of first-place Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. In St. Petersburg, Voynov will join former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeny Artyukhin and Dmitry Kalinin.
In his 190-game NHL career, Voynov scored 18 goals and 81 points, adding another nine goals and 25 points in 64 post-season games. Voynov was drafted by the Kings in 2008, 32nd overall, and was becoming a key contributor for Los Angeles before his NHL career was derailed by his legal troubles. Voynov last played in the KHL in 2007-08 when he suited up in 36 games for Chelyabinsk and scored one goal and four points.