Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has taken the first steps toward signing a contract in the KHL after not having played a professional game in almost one year’s time.
According to R-Sport.ru’s Alexander Rogulev, Voynov has decided to request a transfer from Traktor Chelyabinsk to SKA St. Petersburg, where he will join former NHLers Ilya Kovalchuk, Dmitri Kalinin, Anton Belov, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Evgeny Artyukhin.
“(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. “This will help Voynov prepare for matches for the national team of Russia. At the moment, the general manager of SKA Andrew Tochitskii (is) in Chelyabinsk and in talks with Traktor on the exchange of rights (for Voynov). When these conditions are met, (Voynov) will be able to sign a contract with SKA.”
Voynov, who was sentenced to 90 days in jail following a no contest plea to misdemeanor domestic violence, left his contract with the Kings behind on Sept. 16 when he informed the NHL, NHLPA and Kings that he was, “(beginning) the formal process of returning to Russia with my family.” According to R-Sport, Voynov arrived in Russia on Sept. 22.
Due to a league-imposed suspension, Voynov was forced to sit out nearly the entirety of the 2014-15 campaign following his Oct. 20, 2014 arrest. He did, however, participate in one optional skate with the Kings in December, which led to the Kings being fined $100,000 for allowing Voynov to take part in a team activity.
That Voynov has found himself a contract in the KHL is unsurprising, as Traktor GM Sergei Gomolyako had previously said Voynov’s rights belonged to the Chelyabinsk should he return to Russia.
“He is a great defenseman and a two-time Stanley Cup winner,” Gomolyako told Russian outlet TASS. "How could I not offer him a job?
When Voynov joins St. Petersburg, he will do so nearly one-third of the way through the club’s season. SKA has played 16 games and sit in eighth place with a 8-7-1 record and 24 points. As there is not yet a transfer agreement in place for Voynov to head to St. Petersburg, no financial terms for his contract have been released.