Former Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders forward Nikolay Kulemin will leave the NHL and head to the KHL’s Metallurg Magnitogorsk, according to a report from The Athletic’s Arthur Staple.
Kulemin, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 following the conclusion of a four-year deal with the Islanders, suited up for just 13 games in 2017-18. The 31-year-old last played in early November, before being forced out of the lineup with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Just heard that Nikolay Kulemin is indeed headed back home to play for Magnitogorsk in the KHL. 248 games over four seasons with the #Isles, 10-year NHL career. #Isles lost a lot of depth and PK ability when he went down for the year with a shoulder injury in November.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeAthletic) June 12, 2018
He was close to making it back into the lineup when the Islanders season ended without a playoff berth, however, telling NewsDay’s Andrew Gross in April that he could’ve returned had his club advanced to the post-season.
#Isles Nikolay Kulemin (shoulder) out since Nov. 7 says he was close to returning, could have played in playoffs.
He’s a UFA: “A lot of stuff to think about. I like everything here and we have a great team here and a lot of young guys coming up so we’ll see how it works out.”
— Andrew Gross (@AGrossNewsday) April 9, 2018
Kulemin suited up for nine full NHL campaigns before the brief 2017-18 foray, amassing 195 points in 421 games for the Maple Leafs and another 79 in 248 games with the Islanders.
The Magnitogorsk native suited up for his hometown club during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, posting 38 points in 36 games for the KHL squad. He also spent three years with Metallurg prior to entering the NHL in 2008.