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Nikolai Chebykin has a new team

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The Leafs prospect will stay in Russia on a two-year contract with SKA-Neva.

2017 Scotiabank NHL Centennial Classic - Detroit Red Wings v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

We told you a few weeks ago that Leafs draft pick Nikolai Chebykin was in limbo. He had been prepared to move to North America at that time, and sounded like he would take an AHL contract.

As it turns out, he has signed a two-year deal in Russia with SKA-Neva, the VHL farm club of SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. SKA is the defending champion and one of the wealthiest clubs in the KHL.

In recent weeks, as Dynamo Moscow, the KHL team from Chebykin’s old club has slowly divested itself of players, until at one point they had fewer defencemen than the Colorado Avalanche, SKA-Neva has been picking up players who have aged out of the MHL in the Dynamo Moscow system or were left teamless with the closing down of the VHL team for that club.

Today they announced they had signed Chebykin as well.

This is a good opportunity for him. He needs to play a season in a stable team situation and earn top ice time. It’s a steep hill for him to climb to make the KHL squad, but he’s landed in likely the best situation he could in Russia. Now he just has to make the most of it.