As the lockout drags on, the list of Columbus Blue Jackets players leaving to play abroad slowly grows. Of the five who have signed elsewhere, four headed east to Europe, but one has decided to try his hand in the minor leagues here in North America.
Artem Anisimov: Anisimov has been the most successful of the group since heading to the KHL on September 20 to play with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. He’s scored 5 points in 8 games, all of them assists, with the latest coming in Lokomotiv’s win against Barys on October 8. To top things off, Lokomotiv is at the top of the Tarasov Division and the Western Conference.
Sergei Bobrovsky: The newest Blue Jackets goaltender has been on top of his game with SKA St. Petersburg, gaining 3 wins, a 2.88 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 4 games with only one shootout loss. He even earned two assists in SKA’s game against AK Bars on October 2.
Brandon Dubinsky: The Anchorage, Alaska native signed a professional try out agreement (PTO) with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces on October 1 and will be playing on the team for the duration of the lockout. He’s the third NHL player and Alaskan to head to the Aces, joining Nate Thompson and Joey Crabb.
Radek Martinek: After missing the majority of the 2011-2012 season due to a concussion sustained earlier in 2011, Martinek signed with HC Mountfield Ceske Budejovice on September 18 and racked up 2 assists in 4 games. Unfortunately, he had to take a leave of absence from the team and returned to the U.S. for family reasons.
Nikita Nikitin: Even though he signed with his hometown team Avangard Omsk Region on September 24, Nikitin has had the least success of the four Blue Jackets in Europe. In the 5 games he’s played, his lone point – an assist – came on October 2 in Avangard’s game against Lokomotiv.