Shalunova will sign Lokomotiv! You can forget about NHL talk
28-year-old striker Maxim Shalunov is rightfully considered one of the best central strikers in Russia. A strong and trained center was regularly called up to the Russian national team, was in the shock link of CSKA, but has not changed clubs since 2017. That is, of course, the person stayed too long, but, on the other hand, he managed to win the Gagarin Cup with CSKA.
Shalunov’s career developed in different ways. There have been ups and downs. There were good segments and frankly failed ones. But this hockey player did not lose the brand of a strong man who had seen a lot. And he did the right thing.
“According to Maxim Shalunov, there are a lot of proposals from the KHL. He is an unlimited free agent, so there will always be an opportunity to stay here.
But while we are negotiating, there are interested parties. If you go to the NHL, you need to keep in mind the financial component, ”said Maxim’s agent Shumi Babaev in mid-July.
True, the financial component hardly needs to be mentioned. In Russia, as has long been known, they will always offer more, especially to their homegrown hockey player. And even more so at the level of Shalunov. So the conversation is more likely not about money, but about a dream. But, apparently, this very dream was still not very strong.
Again in July, it was reported that the Chicago Blackhawks had allowed CSKA striker Maxim Shalunov to look for another team in the NHL at that time. As reported by The Athletic, the forward wanted to sign an agreement with the Blackhawks, which have the rights to the player, but wanted to have a safety net in case the club did not find him a place in the squad.
“At the moment, Chicago has no room for Shalunov. They have eight forwards, plus Jonathan Toews and Alex Nylander must return, and there are also a few rookies and free agents.
At the same time, another source told me that Shalunov likes Blackhawks, but his place in the team depends on the situation with the composition and the salary ceiling.
“Chicago” can exchange Shalunov if the player’s agent finds him an option. The striker turns 29 in January, which could be his last big challenge.
If the Blackhawks do not sign him, they will probably still want to give him the opportunity to prove himself in the NHL. And they won’t want much in return, ”wrote journalist Scott Powers.
If we talk about statistics, in the last regular season of the KHL Shalunov played 52 games for CSKA, scored 35 (18 + 17) points with a usefulness of “+20”. In the playoffs, the forward played in 22 matches, gaining 18 (12 + 6) scoring points with an overall usefulness of “+12”.
Are the indicators solid? Quite. It’s not in vain that we called Max one of the best central strikers in the KHL. And just forwards, because this person can really decide the fate of the match. However, this striker, alas, was not mature enough to move to the best league in the world.
As the same journalist of The Athletic Scott Powers said on the eve, the forward agreed a three-year contract with Yaroslavl “Lokomotiv”.
“The player’s agent said Shalunov still hopes to eventually sign the Blackhawks,” Powers said.
Interestingly, the player’s contract will include a clause about a possible departure to the NHL next season.
The player’s agent came up with a whole message.
“The choice of a new club for the upcoming season was due to the fact that the task for the new team of Maxim is the same – the Gagarin Cup. On May 1, the club announced financial conditions that confirmed the status of Maxim and the fact that he is seen as a top player. All this time, the club kept the place and finances under Maxim. Every day we were in touch with the management, for which we are grateful to the management of the organization and the head coach, “Babayev said.
What immediately catches your eye? For CSKA, the loss of Shalunov is a big blow. It seems that the newly minted head coach Sergei Fedorov would clearly like to see such a skilled hockey player in his ranks.
For Lokomotiv, the arrival of Shalunov is a huge plus. Team Andrew Skabelka becomes more powerful and will clearly qualify for winning the Gagarin Cup. Max himself would like to wish him patience and good luck in his new place. Yes, in the end it did not work out with the NHL, but in Russia we need such people. The main thing is that injuries are bypassed and there was further motivation to play in the Continental League.