Over the summer, the Washington Capitals signed Sergei Shumakov to a one-year, two-way entry-level contract worth $925k. The signing was low risk but could have a high reward. The talented Shumakov finished 18th in KHL scoring the year before after tallying a career-high 40 points (17 goals and 23 assists) in 47 games for CSKA Moscow.
Instead, Shumakov didn’t make the Capitals opening night roster out of training camp and was sent down to AHL Hershey. After scoring only three goals and one assist in 10 games with the Bears, Shumakov was put on unconditional waivers Thursday with the expectation that he’d return home to Russia.
Shumakov, as predicted, went unclaimed by another NHL team, but Saturday there was a surprise announcement. The AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds made public that they signed Shumakov to a professional tryout. The Thunderbirds are the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers.
Sport-Express’s Michael Zislis wrote about Shumakov’s situation in a column.
According to Zislis, the Florida Panthers were one of several NHL teams that inquired about Shumakov’s services over the summer while he was a free agent. As Shumakov prepared to fly back home to Russia after being released, the Panthers reached out seeing if he’d be interested in a PTO with Springfield.
“The club in this situation does not risk anything,” Zislis wrote. “The probability of success at the moment does not seem high. But why not try? Florida like Washington is sympathetic to Russian-speaking players. However, unlike the current holder of the Stanley Cup, the Panthers are not currently in the playoff picture (third worst team in East).”
Zislis went on to write that he believed Shumakov’s problems in Hershey stemmed from the fact the team put him on the right wing instead of the left – the position he played in the KHL.
Shumakov has already suited up twice for Springfield this weekend. On Sunday, the Russian forward scored his first goal for his new team, a stunning power-play goal in front of the net.
— Springfield T-Birds (@ThunderbirdsAHL) December 9, 2018
Here’s the GIF
More from the Springfield Thunderbirds
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds announced on Saturday that they have signed forward Sergei Shumakov to a PTO.
Shumakov, 26, began the season with the Hershey Bears. The 6-foot, 196-pound winger tallied three goals and one assist for four points in 10 games and posted a +3 rating.
This is Shumakov’s first pro season in North America after playing in the KHL from 2011 through 2018 for Novosibirsk Sibir and CSKA Moscow. Last season, Shumakov put up a career-high 40 points (17g, 23a) and a +28 rating.
Additional reporting and translations by Igor Kleyner.
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