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Leafs still in running for Russian forward Barabanov


TORONTO, ON., April 6, 2020 – According to his agent Dan Milstein, KHL SKA St. Petersburg right winger, Alexander Barabanov will sign with either the Toronto Maple Leafs or Arizona Coyotes.

Barabanov’s agent, Dan Milstein told the Fan590 today that the Russian forward has narrowed his search to the Leafs and the Coyotes. He said that former coach Mike Babcock had visited Russia to see Barabanov and that Leafs’ GM Kyle Dubas and Coyotes GM John Chayka had also visited Russia several times to watch him play and meet with the player over the past couple of years.

“We are very close.” said Millstein. “If you recall at the Worlds in May of last year, he played with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Kuznetsov on the same line. He has had plenty of opportunities to play with and against NHL players over the years.”

The KHL free agent forward is 25 and plays for SKA St. Petersburg. Barabanov is a skilled, strong playmaker, according to Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. He has scored 27 goals and put up 66 points over for SKA combined over 101 games the past two seasons.

Barabanov’s agent also said that the player has had plenty of time to speak to teams and over the next few days he expects he will enter into contract negotiations with one of the two teams. “I don’t expect to last more than five minutes because Alex will be signing a one-year entry-level contract,” said Millstein, who is also the agent for Russian right winger Ilya Mikheyev.

Milstein said Mikkeyev’s contract negotiations with the Leafs are going well and that the Russian right winger will be rejoining the squad after recovering from a nasty wrist injury, when and if the season resumes.

During the COVID-19 hiatus NHL management teams have been keeping busy looking into prospects to improve their teams including having virtual meetings and signing college players and looking to other pro leagues for hidden gems. Meanwhile the Leafs have been doing their best to stay in shape at home as they self-isolate.

They have also been live-streaming and playing a little e-hockey. See below from Leafs’ star Mitch Marner.


by Terry Lankstead

Visiti totimes.ca for more stories.

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