The Toronto Maple Leafs have been a conduit for KHLers hoping to break into North America, adding defenseman Mikko Lehtonen (traded to Columbus) and winger Alexander Barabanov to one-year deals prior to last season. The Leafs continued that trend on Wednesday, announcing the signing of forward Kirill Semyonov to a one-year entry-level contract for the 2021-22 season.
The 26-year-old has played most of his six KHL seasons for his hometown Avangard Omsk club (who won the Gagarin Cup) and had 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 60 games this season and nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 23 playoff games.
Semyonov led Omsk in scoring in 2019-20 with 46 points (16 goals, 30 assists) in 62 games playing mostly on the first line, but was relegated to a lower line after Omsk stocked up on former NHLers (Reid Boucher, Jiri Sekac, Klim Kostin and Ilya Kovalchuk) with the KHL staying active through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The forward is represented by agent Daniel Milstein, who represents Leafs 2020 first rounder Rodion Amirov, Ilya Mikheyev, Barabanov and Egor Korshkov, signed a one-year, two-way deal for $750,000 / $70,000 and will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
The Leafs took to the ice at the Ford Performance Centre in Etobicoke, ON on Wednesday without forward Nick Foligno. Foligno left Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens in the second period with an upper-body injury.
Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe indicated that Foligno is "day-to-day" and will miss Thursday's game and likely Saturday's contest with Montreal.
Joe Thornton took Foligno’s spot on the top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner at practice and that is likely to be the case for the club’s rematch with the Habs on Thursday. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnstonreports that injured forwards Zach Hyman and Riley Nash were both on the ice wearing non-contact jerseys and that defenseman Justin Holl, who missed the Leafs 3-2 overtime loss in Montreal, took part in practice wearing a full cage after taking a puck to the face vs. Vancouver on Saturday.
Frederik Andersen also participated in practice for the second time, and Keefe said that the plan is for him to be loaned to the AHL Marlies and play half of the game on Thursday afternoon against the Manitoba Moose.
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