On Tuesday, the New York Islanders placed 29-year-old forward Nikita Soshnikov on waivers. The Russian forward signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders the day after training camp opened. Given his speed, forechecking, and penalty-kill ability, Soshnikov made the NHL roster out of training camp and played opening night, a 3-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.
Nikita Soshnikov would go on to play in two more games for the New York Islanders, the 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the 4-3 win over the New York Rangers last Tuesday.
He recorded four shots on goal in three games, with eight hits and a few giveaways in 9:56 average TOI.
On Wednesday, Soshnikov passed through waivers and was optioned to the Bridgeport Islanders (AHL).
New York currently has 13 forwards rostered after starting the season with 15. Keffer Bellows was placed on waivers and was claimed by the Philadelphia Flyers back on Oct. 27.
Now with Soshnikov in Bridgeport, Ross Johnston remains the only extra forward, for now.
Johnston, like Soshnikov, has played in three games with New York, having recorded an assist with nine PIM (one fighting major), two shots on goal, one block, six hits, and no giveaways in 9:17 average TOI.
Although Soshnikov was sent to Bridgeport, that does not mean he will report.
Last February, the Russian forward decided to give the NHL another shot after playing for three years in the KHL. Soshnikov was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization from 2015 to 2018. He appeared in 67 NHL games for the franchise, with seven goals and seven assists, mostly playing fourth-line minutes alongside Matt Martin.
In February of 2018, Toronto traded Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick. He played in 17 games with St. Louis over two years, with one goal and one assist.
Following that season, he returned to the KHL before trying to make an NHL comeback with New York this season. Could he be headed back to the KHL?
If he wants to go that route, New York would need to place him on unconditional waivers, which would terminate his contract.
With Soshnikov not having to be reassigned to Bridgeport once he cleared, it seems like a call-up will be coming. Here’s our story from Monday about why Simon Holmstrom is likely the player heading to the NHL if a call-up happens.