Lost in all the speculation surrounding the North American return of former NHL superstar Ilya Kovalchuk from the KHL is the attempted return of disgraced Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov. You may recall that Voynov was effectively banished from the NHL back in 2014 following his arrest for domestic abuse after he allegedly got into an altercation with his wife following a dispute. Voynov eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanour charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. He was subsequently suspended and had his contract terminated by the Kings for breach of conduct. Since then Voynov has continued his hockey career in his native Russia with SKA St. Petersburg, along with the aforementioned Kovalchuk.
Now 28 years old, Voynov is a Gagarin Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist, in addition to being a Stanley Cup champion. So, what’s next? Well, according to a report from anonymous hockey blogger Eklund, Voynov is in negotiations with the Pittsburgh Penguins to return to the NHL.
Now, it must first be said that Eklund doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to reporting these types of rumors. He’s wrong more often than he’s right, but nonetheless a Voynov and Penguins fit does make sense on paper. He’s the full statement from Eklund, himself:
A source told me just now..”If Slava Voynov is allowed back in the NHL, the Penguins would lead the charge…”
First, let me say this is very unlikely that he would be allowed back into the NHL, and even more unlikely that he’d be allowed back into the country to work…but this is the third time over the past two months that someone I trust has told me they are hearing Voynov connected to the Penguins…
Interesting… for what it’s worth, the Penguins already have two right-side defenders locked up long term in Kris Letang and Justin Schultz. Were Voynov to join the Penguins, he’d either have to transition to the left side or toil on the team’s bottom pairing with Jamie Oleksiak. It’s unlikely that either Letang or Schultz get moved this offseason, but then again strangers things have happened…
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