Late last night Eastern time, the first member of the Boston Bruins officially made his way overseas in the European and Asian lockout exodus that has already been undertaken by more than 20 players.
Anton Khudobin signed with the KHL’s HC Atlant Moscow Oblast team. This team is based in the city of Mytishchi in Moscow Oblast, Russia, which is a federal subject of Russia (that’s what oblast means). It’s small, but very densely populated, and Mytishchi is the largest population center in the oblast. (Fun trivia: Mytishchi was the site of the first aqueduct in Russia tasked with giving the Kremlin pure water by order of Catherine the Great.) The team has been around, going by various names, since 1953. Triple Gold Club member Igor Larionov played there from 1978 to 1981. Last year, it lost in the conference semifinals to SKA Saint Petersburg.
Khudobin, who is from what is now known as Kazakhstan, will not be the only Kazakh on the team: defenseman Maxim Semenov is also Kazakh and is even from the same city as Khudobin.
There have also been various unconfirmed rumors that Zdeno Chara could go back to Slovakia and David Krejci could return to the Czech Republic. Dennis Seidenberg is reportedly looking for European playing opportunities too, though his brother Yanick has been pushing hard for him to join his German league team, the Mannheim Eagles. Another rumor I heard would have Patrice Bergeron looking for play time in the Swiss leagues. Again, none of these have been confirmed yet.
Some players are signing shorter-term contracts in Europe. For example, Jussi Jokinen‘s deal with Finland’s Oulu Karpat is only a month long.
Also, the KHL has imposed limits on how many NHL players can come onto their teams, so many players will not be able to consider that as a valid option.