If the KHL is an “old man’s league,” as Thrashers prospect Alexander Burmistrov put it, they got an extremely fast elderly gentleman today. Former Thrasher Maxim Afinogenov disagreed with whatever the contract terms were that Atlanta offered him, and has left to join SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, signing a five year deal. Afinogenov going home to Russia is not a huge surprise, seeing as how slow the UFA market has been here recently, and SKA is fairly stacked as far as the KHL is concerned – Petr Čajánek, Alexei Yashin, Denis Grebeshkov, Sergei Zubov, and former San Jose Shark Evgeny Nabokov all call the team home. This is also the team that has flung big dough at Ilya Kovalchuk.
The length of the deal makes me think that it was the length of the Thrashers’ offer, and not money, that led Afinogenov to turn it down. The Thrashers are going to have to replace his scoring, and it’s not a short order, considering Max scored 24 goals and 37 assists last season.