The Buffalo Sabres and KHL defenseman Victor Antipin have been linked for months, and it seems like their will they/won’t they relationship is finally going to work out.
Igor Eronko, hockey writer for the Sport-Express in Russia first reported that Antipin has terminated his KHL contract with Magnitogorsk Metallurg in order to sign with the Sabres.
Despite not having a GM in place yet, the Sabres still have assistant general manager Mark Jakubowski, who has handled contracts for the team for many years. I’m not sure if the team would officially sign Antipin before announcing who their new GM will be, but it’s a good sign that things are still moving along despite the turmoil in Buffalo.
Antipin will be a nice addition to a Buffalo blue line in desperate need of talent. The 24-year old lefty scored 24 points in 59 games this season, including 11 points in 18 playoff games, where he was named as the best defenseman. He’s a good skater, he can work on the power play, and he comes with plenty of experience, having played for Russia in both the World Championships and World Juniors.
The other left-handers expected to be on the Sabres blue line next year (barring free agency or a trade) are Jake McCabe, Brendan Guhle and Josh Gorges, but Antipin will likely get more than a fair shot to stake his claim to a top-four position in training camp, should his contract come to fruition.
The deal’s not done yet, but it seems like the last hurdle (or maybe second-last, if a new GM is required) has been cleared, and Antipin is that much closer to joining the Sabres.