After 10 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, the unrestricted free agent found no takers in the NHL and accepted a four year contract worth $24 million from SKA St. Petersburg, one of the KHL's top teams.
2 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI; AFP/Getty Images
After 17 years in the NHL, Jagr -- then 36 -- departed the N.Y. Rangers in 2008 for Avangard Omsk, which offered a two-year deal worth $25 million. In two seasons, he's scored a total of 47 goals and 95 points in 106 games while helping his team reach the playoffs each time. Last January, Jagr was caught up in a wild brawl-filled game vs. Vityaz Chekhov in which so many players were ejected that there weren't enough left to continue. In May, Jagr signed a one-year, $7 million extension rather than return to the NHL.
3 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI; KHL/AFP/Getty Images
A six-time NHL All-Star, three-time Stanley Cup-winner, and league MVP (1994), Fedorov, 39, left the Washington Capitals in June 2009 to take a two-year deal for a reported $8 million with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, for whom his younger brother, Fedor, plays. Sergei scored 9 goals and 29 points in 50 games last season.
4 of 19Jim McIsaac/Getty Images; IHA/Icon SMI
An infamous NHL malcontent in Ottawa and bust in New York, where the Islanders bought out the final four years of the 10-year, $87.5 million contract he signed in 2001, Yashin got a one-year deal from Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the then-Russian Super League in 2007. The team joined the new KHL in 2008 and Yashin helped it come within one win of the Gagarin Cup championship. Last season, after signing with SKA St. Petersburg, he was one of the KHL's top scorers, with 18 goals and 64 points in 56 games.
5 of 19David E. Klutho/SI
A two-time Stanley Cup-winner (Rangers, 1994; Stars 1999), the 39-year old power play specialist concluded his 16-year NHL career by signing with SKA St. Petersburg in 2009. After playing only 10 games for Dallas in 2008-09 due to a hip injury, Zubov received a two-year deal and scored 10 goals and 42 points in 53 games last season while logging major ice time.
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In the summer of 2008, the KHL put Russia's player exchange agreement with the NHL in serious turmoil when Salavat Yulayev Ufa signed the Predators' 2004 first round pick (15th overall) to a three-year deal. Radulov was under contract to Nashville and had played two full seasons with them. During his two seasons in the KHL, he has averaged 23 goals and 55 points, winning 2009-10 KHL MVP honors.
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The highly-touted 2008 first-round pick (sixth overall) felt stifled in Columbus by then-coach Ken Hitchcock's defense-oriented system and was happy to be loaned to his former Russian team, CSKA Moscow, after only 21 NHL cames. "Nikita is a top prospect in our organization and we believe it is in the best interest of his development to play more and in all situations in the KHL," said Jackets GM Scott Howson. "We have agreed to his request to be assigned to CSKA and this should afford him the opportunity to continue to work and develop his game in his hometown." Filatov scored 9 goals and 22 points in 26 games for CSKA last season.
8 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
The temperamental netminder wore out his welcome in Ottawa and the NHL, and ended up being offered $2 million by Atlant Mytishchi for 2008-09. During his one season in the KHL, Emery played in the league's outdoor All-Star Game in Moscow, got embroiled in a contract dispute, and tangled with a team trainer, but impressed the Philadelphia Flyers enough for them to sign him for the 2009-10 season. Unfortunately, he was sidelined by a hip injury in March.
9 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
The Blue Jackets' first-round pick (fourth overall) in 2003, Zherdev spent two seasons in Columbus and one with the Rangers, who let him go to Atlant Mytischi in 2009 after he led New York in scoring and was awarded a $4 million salary by an arbitrator. He scored 13 goals and 26 points last season in the KHL, but is returning to the NHL with the Flyers, who have signed him to a one-year deal worth $2 million.
10 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
A valuable member of the Devils' three Stanley Cup teams, but unhappy about his uncertain role, Brylin declined to exercise the option on his contract for 2008-09 and signed with SKA St. Petersburg for three years. He's averaged eight goals and 22 points during his two seasons in the KHL, where he is now his team's captain.
11 of 19David E. Klutho/SI
The Czech pivot was a solid contributor (23 goals, 57 points) to Detroit's 2007-08 Stanley Cup championship team, but caused the Red Wings to file a complaint with the IIHF when he used a two-year, $10 million offer from Dynamo Moscow as a bargaining chip. (He had filed for arbitration, which prevents him from receiving an offer sheet.) The Red Wings let Hudler go, and he scored 19 goals and 54 points in 54 games in the KHL last season.
12 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
After 14 seasons with the Sharks, Panthers, Devils, Islanders and Capitals, Kozlov, then 34, followed Sergei Fedorov to the KHL by signing a three-year deal with Salavat Yulayev Ufa in May 2009. Kozlov scored 10 goals and 28 points in 48 games last season.
13 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
Best known for surviving a ghastly injury when he was slashed in the neck by a skate during a 2008 game vs. Buffalo, the 12-year NHL veteran signed a two-year deal with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in May 2009 -- on the day he became a finalist for the NHL's Masterton Trophy (perseverance and dedication to hockey). Last season, he scored 6 goals and 18 points in 37 games.
14 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
The 25-year-old blueliner, a first-round pick (21st overall) by Chicago in 2002, left Carolina in 2009 to sign with Avangard Omsk. On July 1, 2010, he opted to return to the Hurricanes, signing a one-year deal worth $1.4 million. While he was in Russia, Babcuk led Omsk defensemen in goals (9), points (22), power-play goals (4), game-winning goals (2) and plus/minus ( 17). He also played in the KHL All-Star Game, scoring a goal.
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After losing his starting jobs in Carolina (2005-06) and Ottawa (2007-08) and failing to stick with Toronto in 2008-09, the Swiss netminder left for Atlant Mytischi, for whom he was 15-6-6 with a 2.19 GAA and .914 save percentage before being hospitalized for a neck injury in December.
16 of 19Clay Patrick McBride/SI
The oft-suspended pot-stirrer spent 15 seasons in the NHL with Quebec, Colorado, Washington, Chicago, New York (Rangers and Islanders) and Minnesota before ending up with Vityaz Chekhov for 2009-09. Still plying his rough trade, he spent 263 minutes in the box while playing 40 games that season. In 2009-10, he produced 25 points in 30 games while racking up 110 PIM.
17 of 19Lou Capozzola/SI
His once-promising career damaged by a serious eye injury, the 1997 Calder Trophy-winner wrapped up his 11-year stint in the NHL in 2008 and signed with Vityaz Chekhov. He played one season in the KHL, scoring 18 points and chalking up 103 PIM.
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Once one of the NHL's most gifted offensive blueliners, Ozolinsh's 15-year career ended in 2008 under a cloud of injury and substance abuse problems. He signed the following year with Dinamo Riga and became team captain as well as a KHL All-Star despite an injury that limited him to 5 goals and 25 points in 43 games.
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Ottawa's first round pick (third overall) in 1994, Bonk never quite fulfilled his potential while skating in the NHL for 14 seasons. In 2009, he signed with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and played only seven game before returning to his native Czech Republic where he finished last season with Trinec Ocelari HC.
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