There may be a new face in the NHL free agency pool, and his name is Danis Zaripov. The KHL vet will be hoping to make the NHL now that he’s a free agent due to a recent two-year suspension from the IIHF for doping. His KHL team, AK Bars Kazan voided his contract. He had signed with AK Bars as a free agent, after playing 2016-17 with Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
If cleared to play in the NHL, he will become another top face in the mix of veteran free agents available. He first has to go through the process to enter the NHL. Since since the NHL let Bryan Berard play after his IIHF doping suspension it’s not hard to imagine that they will allow Zaripov into the league. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the news.
The 36-year-old veteran played 18 seasons. His career is split between the KHL and its predecessor, the Russian Top League. Zaripov has played 476 career KHL games and put up 199 goals with 252 assists for 451 points. He has also tallied up 278 career penalty minutes. His best season in the KHL came in 2008-09 with AK Bars Kazan. He scored 34 goals as well as 31 assists for 65 points in 56 games.
Danis Zaripov Looking at NHL After KHL Suspension
Now, 36-years-old, he likely won’t comman a deal similar to the one-year, $6 million conttact Alexander Radulov got last season from the Montreal Canadiens. A reasonable deal for someone of his age, that has never played in the NHL, might be a one or two-year deal worth between $1.5 and $2.5 million per season. According to reports, there are two teams in the hunt for him as of right now. They are the New York Rangers and the Vegas Golden Knights. With the Knights he would join former KHL top center Vadim Shipachyov. They could mesh extremely well together. Elsewhere, he may be looking at a third line role.
Zaripov has also been quite successful for Russia when it comes to tournaments and the KHL in the playoffs. Throughout his career, he’s won the Russian Continental Cup in 2007-08 and the KHL Gagarin Cup in 2008-09, 2009-10, 2013-14, and 2015-16. For Team Russia Zaripov won a World Championship Bronze medal in 2006-07, a World Championship Gold medal in 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2013-14. He also added a Silver medal to his collection in the 2014-15 World Championships.
Zaripov is hunting for the NHL as he won’t be signed in the KHL or European leagues. He’s expected to get clarity on his NHL eligibility within the next week.
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