Much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expected to see Russian forward Kirill Petrov suddenly one Monday morning come close to escaping the KHL, a league whose chief weapon is surprise and fear, whose two chief weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency, whose three chief weapons are... you get the point.
Petrov had become a forgotten man among Islanders prospects; drafted an eternity ago in 2008, he was tethered to a KHL contract, then had a health issue in his first trip to North America, then had a sick mother to care for, making the idea of staying in Russia the easy call. It just seemed as if the stars would never align between the player and the team that took a chance on him with a third round pick eight years ago.
So why now? Thanks to a transfer between KHL clubs that fell through, Petrov's escape to America could, in the words of one site, "save his career."
(NOTE: As always, Google Translate is an adventure requiring a great deal of salt. I think this is how it shakes out, but I could be very, very wrong).
"Black Cats" and family ties
A story from May 20th in Sport.business-gazeta.ru (the same site that reported Petrov signing his ELC with the Islanders earlier today) reported on a transfer that would have sent Petrov from his old club, Ak Bars, to St. Petersburg SKA for a 100 million Rubles and a couple of prospects.
For Petrov, the deal, which Gazeta says could have been the biggest of the off-season, would have been a change of pace and a chance to start again. Under coach Valery Belov, Petrov enjoyed a promising first few seasons as a key contributor for Ak Bars (fourth in team scoring for the 2011-12 season) and a member of Russia's World Championship team.
In the second year of its work at the helm of " leopards " Belov Petrov was able to find the right application. Forward was the third scorer in the regular season with 29 productive points (14 + 15) in 53 games. He was the first by the number of playing time among the players attack and, still managed to throw two goals in the minority. He playoffs " Ak Bars " failed, and Petrov scored three points in six games - the third result in the team. And he once again became the first in the number of possession among the attackers - an average of more than 20 minutes on the ice, that is one third of the match. This is a very respectable figure for the striker.
But when Belov's mentor, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov took over Ak Bars, Petrov found his ice time reduced and playing on the fourth line for long stretches of last season. This led to a rift with his new coach.
At the last minute, Ak Bars decided that they wanted 150 million from St. Petersburg for the transfer, which led to a stalemate: St. Petersburg wouldn't agree to the price and Ak Bars wouldn't budge, giving Petrov a chance to walk away for nothing.
Get you to AMERICANS
But in the Islanders, Petrov has an opportunity to get out of the loop and take his talents to the biggest stage.
Option to North America occurs in the player last summer, but then the choice was made in favor of the Russian league with the expectation of a speedy metabolism. Now the contract with the American club for the striker is almost the only way out of the situation, in fact, the way to save his career. A chance to prove himself in the NHL hockey players are. He has played in the training camp , " Islanders " in 2010, but was injured there and returned to Russia. With the growth of 191 cm and a weight of 110 kg Petrov could manifest itself in the best hockey league in the world.
And what, exactly, would Petrov bring to the Islanders? Why don't we take a look at some awesomely translated scouting reports!
Vladimir Shouters - head coach "Neftekhimik":
He will be able to start playing in the NHL - the guy powerful, strong in the martial arts, he feels very well there. I think it could easily start playing in the NHL.
Gennady Maslov - Kazan hockey legend:
- I think that gaming problems Petrov explained by the fact that its misuse in the team. He put on a common rail, not because of its individual qualities. And this is a very important factor. That does not matter, and other teams play! You can not put the general rails individually strong players.That's the problem Cyril. It is not necessary to give it to another team, a normal guy. Especially ours, Kazan, hereditary hockey player, I played with his grandfather in the UK it. Uritsky. I think that with its data Kirill will start playing in the NHL. Large, heavy, strong, fit it in the overseas hockey.
Ilnur Gizatullin - coach "Lada" (Tolyatti)
Kirill himself must realize it is not a stupid man, not a little kid. If it's only Petrov, at some children's resentment, he still will enjoy playing in the home team. And he knows how to play. If it is different, then it is necessary to change the club. I think that to start playing in the NHL with its data can Kirill. Will play there. Power forward, great, is not afraid to fight, dare it is, and most importantly, winning this fight.
Well, I think that clears everything up. Right? Er... not really.
Right now, Kirill Petrov is a 6 foot-3, 225 pound hockey forward in need of a restart but without a place to play. For the first time, the Islanders seem like they could be that place.