Blackhawks prospect Ivan Nalimov just signed a new two-year contract with his KHL franchise, Admiral Vladivostok, the team’s official site confirmed earlier today. The news alone is worth of attention for both franchises’ fans, but if that’s not enough, the young goalie signed his new contract directly on ice, during the team’s season-closing ceremony.
The new contract is also a good birthday present for Nalimov, who turned 22 today. The goalie, who hails from Novokuznetsk like many other good present-day players (Dmitry Orlov, Sergei Bobrovsky, Kirill Kaprizov among others, click here for a more detailed list), had a very good season with Admiral and has even called up to the national team for the February exhibition games in Czech Republic, where however he didn’t play.
Nalimov played his second season in Vladivostok, the league’s most remote team. Earlier he played within the Metallurg Novokuznetsk and SKA St. Petersburg systems. He also played two games for Team Russia at the 2014 WJC in Malmo, Sweden, where Russia got back home with the bronze medal. One season earlier, in 12-13, he was one of the top MHL goalies with SKA-1946.
Ivan is a sixth round pick for the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him 179th overall in 2014. Right after the draft, it was rumored that he would cross the Atlantic (or the Pacific, perhaps, considering Vladivostok’s geographical position), as he was a free agent, but he was then signed by Admiral Vladivostok, who believed in him and got with Nalimov a very good number one goalie. His backup this season was former Anaheim Ducks prospect Igor Bobkov, who may have had slightly better numbers, but didn’t look as solid as Nalimov in the games he played. Bobkov is under contract with the team through the 16-17 season. Admiral Vladivostok ended their season about a week ago after a first-round playoff defeat to Sibir Novosibirsk. The Vladivostok franchise lost the series, but definitely gave the Novosibirsk team a good run for their money in multiple ways.
Admiral Vladivostok this year featured a number of former NHL players in David Booth, Jonathon Blum, and Oskar Bartulis, who is serving as team’s captain, and another North American player in Geoff Kinrade, who is however on a running-out contract and may have to seek another team for next season.
Following this link, Blackhawks fans can have a look at numerous pics of Ivan Nalimov, both on and off the ice, posted on a Russian blog hosted by the popular site sports.ru.
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A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso