In another twist to the on-going story involving Russian center Vadim Shipachyov’s future, on Monday, KHL insider Aivis Kalnins reported Shipachyov had reported to training camp with SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.
Can confirm Vadim Shipachov has joined #SKA‘s training camp and has gone trough medical tests.
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) July 11, 2016
Shipachyov’s appearance at training camp adds to speculation that the talented 29-year-old has another year left on his KHL contract with the club.
On May 24, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on Calgary’s Sportsnet 690 and reported that Shipachyov was close to making his decision and that the Montreal Canadiens were “one of the teams from the beginning chasing him the hardest.”
Later that day, however, Friedman tweeted that Shipachyov may still be under contract with SKA.
There is word of a snag in Vadim Shipachyov’s status. He may have to fulfill another year in Russia before coming to the NHL.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 24, 2016
On May 27, Friedman appeared again on Calgary’s Sportsnet 690 and addressed the Shipachyov situation. When asked about Shipachyov’s future, Friedman commented that “He’s not coming.” Friedman said that he had spoken with someone in Saint Petersburg and that Shipachyov had another year left on his contract in the KHL. “I have heard from another source that it’s going to cost about $700,000 U.S. to buy him out of that contract, and I just don’t think anybody is going to do it. I think he’s not coming,” Friedman added. When asked about whether the Montreal Canadiens would be willing to pay this, Friedman said, “Absolutely I can see it, but I’m not sure what the rules are on this. I’m not sure if teams are allowed to pay. And also, I could see the NHL saying ,’You know what? We don’t want you guys doing that.’ ”
However, on July 5, Harvey Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel reported that the Florida Panthers were talking to the young player.
Panthers talking to Russian-KHL UFA Vadim Shipachev, source #flapanthers
— Harvey Fialkov (@hfialkov) July 5, 2016
Shipachyov, a 6′, 187-pound center, has played 8 seasons in the KHL, including the last three with SKA Saint Petersburg. In 155 games with his current club, Shipachyov has tallied 41 goals and 146 points. During the 2015 Gagarian Cup playoffs, Shipachyov helped lead the club to the championship, scoring 22 points in 22 games. Shipachyov’s teammates that season included former-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk and current Chicago Blackhawks left winger Artemi Panarin.
At the international level, Shipachyov has represented Russia the last three years in the World Championships, capturing gold (2014), silver (2015) and bronze medals (2016). Shipachyov drew lots of attention at the 2016 tournament when he scored 6 goals and 18 points in just 10 games.
Given Shipachyov’s reported appearance at SKA Saint Petersburg’s training camp on Monday, it is possible that the next time we see him skating in North America is for Team Russia during the World Cup of Hockey. The eight-team tournament will take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from Sept. 17 to Oct. 21, 2016.