The Buffalo Sabres have announced the signing of KHL defenseman, Viktor Antipin. The contract is for one-year, financial terms have not been released. The team announced the deal on their twitter account.
NEWS: The Sabres have signed defenseman Victor Antipin to a one-year, entry-level contract. pic.twitter.com/0nrkOF37tn
Buffalo Sabres Sign Viktor Antipin to One-Year Deal
Antipin has long been rumored to be joining the NHL club. He has reportedly been in talks with Buffalo since at least March. Rumors of him coming to the NHL started even earlier. A talented offensive defenseman, he’s received looks from multiple teams.
Antipin played the last five years in the KHL. In the 264 games he has scored 98 points. Where he’s shined, though, is in the playoffs. His team has made it to the playoffs in all five of his seasons. He has three appearances in the finals, and has won two Gagarin Cups. Antipin has 37 points in 79 total playoff games. In the most recent year he had seven goals and 11 points in 18 games.
Antipin has shown his skill in the KHL, but will still have to fight for a spot in Buffalo. He’s going up against the likes of Josh Gorges, Zach Bogosian, and Rasmus Ristolainen. Luckily for Antipin, the Sabres have three defenseman who become UFAs this offseason. While they may re-sign Cody Franson, it’s still up in the air whether Dmitry Kulikov or Taylor Fedun will join the team next year. Antipin is primed to fill the second pairing role they held if they don’t re-sign.
What to Expect
If he can perform at the same level, Antipin could be a very succesful KHL signing. He is very strong in the offensive zone, and likes to join the rush. New Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said, “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”
Looking at the Sabres defensive corps, Antipin will add puck moving ability. He’s likely to get regular playing time next year. Antipin just finished playing with Russia in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships. It was his third time participating in the tournament. He had four points in ten games, winning bronze.