According to a report from Sport-Express reporter and KHL hockey insider Igor Eronko, former New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens forward David Desharnais is headed to the KHL.
The 31 year old center is coming off a six goal, 28 point season with the Rangers after signing a one year, $1 million contract with the team this past offseason. Despite being a regular 10-20 goal scorer and a former 60 point man in the NHL, it looks like Desharnais’ time in North America is over. No word yet on which KHL team Desharnais is expected to join, but it’s worth nothing that the world’s second largest professional hockey league just wrapped up their Gagarin Cup Playoffs this week with Ak Bars Kazan taking home the trophy.
If in fact Desharnais is headed for the KHL as Eronko reports, it will almost certainly signal the end of his NHL days. The native of Laurier-Station, Quebec leaves the NHL with a stellar 87 goals and 282 points in 524 games. While those certainly aren’t eye popping numbers by any means, it does take a remarkable level of skill and determination to play in 500+ NHL games, especially for someone of Desharnais’ stature. The 5’7”, 180 pound forward had a career year in 2011-12 as a member of the Canadiens in which he scored 16 goals and 60 points. Just two years later he managed 16 goals and 52 points. Since then though, his point production has declined steadfastly.
With Rangers in rebuilding mode it's expected that top prospects Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil will each factor into the team's lineup for next season, effectively pushing Desharnais out. While it's surprising to see him jump ship so quickly, the official beginning of NHL free-agency isn't for another seven weeks, maybe there's a chance that Desharnais has a big money deal lined up in Russia?
Again, no word yet on whether he has a deal in place, it's worth noting that Desharnais opted for the Swiss league over the KHL during the 2012-13 NHL lockout.
So long, David. At the very least Oilers fans will remember you for this beauty:
It also brought us this fantastic moment courtesy of Global News in Edmonton:
Once again, all the best David.