Two Russian world champions in a middle club? KHL on the verge of an unexpected deal

Pavel Panyshev

Pavel Panyshev

Zherdev and Emelin can go to Dynamo Minsk

It looks like Nikolai Zherdev and Alexei Emelin have found a new team.

There aren’t many free agents left on the KHL transfer market to look out for. For example, Nikita Soshnikov still hasn’t signed a contract and doesn’t lose hope of returning to the NHL. Without an agreement, Sergei Shumakov, but he will definitely find a new club in the KHL.

Until recently, defender Alexei Emelin and forward Nikolai Zherdev did not have a team. As a matter of fact, now both hockey players still do not have any signed papers in their hands, but interesting information has appeared on both.

The press learned that 37-year-old Zherdev and 36-year-old Emelin are in Minsk, where they train with the local Dynamo.

Zherdev started last season in the Slovak club Bratislava Capitals, for which he scored 7 (1+6) points in 12 matches. He spent the second part of the championship in the Alpine League for the Italian Merano, where he scored 21 (10 + 11) points in 18 games. In total, in the KHL, he has 408 games for Atlant, Ak Bars, Severstal, Spartak, Sochi, Torpedo, Dynamo Riga and Neftekhimik.

“After two tragedies in a row, we were asked to look for new clubs.”  Interview with Zherdev
“After two tragedies in a row, we were asked to look for new clubs.” Interview with Zherdev

Emelin is a three-time winner of the Gagarin Cup (2009, 2010, 2021) as part of Ak Bars and Avangard. He has spent the last four years with the Hawks. Last season, the defender scored 8 (2+6) points in 43 games of the KHL regular season, to which he added 5 (2+3) points in 13 playoff games.

Both players are in the status of unrestricted free agents. At the same time, Nikolai, according to our information, has been skating with the Minsk club for quite a long time, and Alexei arrived in the capital of Belarus just the other day.

We repeat, today neither Zherdev nor Yemelin have even signed viewing contracts, but it seems that the issue of employment of two recognized masters will soon be resolved and both will continue their careers as part of the Bison.

With Nikolai Zherdev, the situation is clearer and simpler. The forward missed big hockey and has long been burning with the desire to return to the KHL. Nikolai has excellent technique and skating, he has experience playing in the NHL, he has never had serious injuries, and most importantly, he has the desire and strength. All the known problems of this hockey player are in the past, recently the forward has been actively working on himself, training and playing in Europe. Zherdev will definitely strengthen Dynamo Minsk, which pleases its fans with solid transfers this off-season. It seems that the Bison decided to raise the bar and get rid of the stigma of a middle-class club.

Nikolai Zherdev

Nikolai Zherdev

Photo: Vladimir Bezzubov,

One world champion (in the case of Zherdev – twice) in the Minsk club decided not to be limited. Aleksey Emelin also won gold medals as part of the Russian national team at the world championship, and until recently he was the captain at all in Avangard.

To some extent, Emelin’s departure from the Omsk club was unexpected, because for the KHL, Alexei is still a top defender with charisma and leadership qualities. Apparently, Emelin did not want to move to Siberia and was looking for options in the Moscow region.

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And they were. As we know, the hockey player and his representative were negotiating with several teams at once. In particular, Spartak was interested in the defender, who, after the departure of Sergei Shirokov, would not be hindered by such an experienced and titled Russian (we do not take into account the recently signed Kazakhstani Roman Starchenko). However, the parties failed to agree on the financial terms of the deal. Emelin’s requests are still decent, but are Dynamo Minsk really ready to satisfy the player’s money appetite? Dynamo never had huge budgets.

In any case, there is no smoke without fire. So we expect that the leadership of the Belarusian team will please the Minsk fans by signing full-fledged contracts with two titled Russians. And then reaching the playoffs and passing the first round will become quite feasible tasks for Dynamo. And in theory, you can aim for more.

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