As it was announced through HC Sochi’s official site that Oilers prospect Ziyat Paigin has been traded back to Ak Bars Kazan, making a move to North America during this offseason very unlikely. The defenseman had a breakout season in 2015-16, when he was traded from Ak Bars Kazan to HC Sochi and started getting significant ice time. After eight games with the Kazan franchise with only one point scored, Paigin went on to score nine goals and 27 points in 37 regular season games for the Black Sea team. He represented Team Russia on different occasions and was one of the last cuts from the IIHF WC roster. He was also selected to play at the 2016 KHL All-Star Game.
? Ziyat Paigin celebrates a goal for Russia during a recent EuroChallenge game against Norway. (Image… https://t.co/0MD4ALg3VV
— Patrick C (@ChunkletsHockey) April 30, 2016
After a good rookie season in 2014-15 with Ak Bars Kazan, Paigin was drafted by the Oilers with the 209th overall pick. In the same year, he helped Team Russia win a silver medal at the 2015 WJC in Toronto and Montreal. Canada won after a thrilling 5-4 game and Paigin made headlines for throwing his stick into the stands in frustration.
“We tried to retain Ziyat in our organization, who earned many calls to the National team and the KHL All-Star Game during his stint [in Sochi],” the Black Sea team wrote on their website regarding the transaction. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible.” In exchange for Paigin, Sochi received an undisclosed monetary compensation, a common practice in European and Russian hockey.
Paigin is a big (6’6″, 194 lbs.), yet mobile defenseman with good skating abilities and good vision of the ice in both zones. His KHL contract will expire on Apr. 30, 2017, and at that point he is expected to move to North America.
A native of Togliatti, Russia, Paigin started playing hockey in Penza, playing for the local Dizel. In 2011, he moved to Ak Bars Kazan, where played until last year. In Kazan, he will once again play for head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, who is notorious for not trusting young players too much. We will see next year if this will be the case with Paigin. Under Bilyaletdinov, Paigin had nine minutes of ice time a night in 2014-15 and less than eight in his short stint in 2015-16. In contrast, he played more than 21 minutes a night in Sochi.
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso