A young National Hockey League playerhas had it with his current team and has seemingly decided to call it quits on the NHL all together.
According to a report coming out of the Kontinental Hockey League 25 year old defenseman Viktor Antipin has rejected a contract offer from the Buffalo Sabres and instead will be returning to Magnitogorsk Metallurg, his former team in the KHL. It's a rather unusual move from a player that was clearly hoping to get his big break in the NHL after a successful career in the KHL but it sounds like the situation he was in may have played a major factor.
According to Antipin´s father the shock of going from Magnitogorsk Metallurg, a team that was competing for a championship in the KHL, to the Buddalo Sabres, a team that was competing for last place in the NHL, was the major motivating factor in this decision. On top of that there were some fans in Buffalo that were frustrated at the extremely limited ice time that Antipin was giving last season in spite of the fact that the Sabres had seemingly nothing to lose. Antipin was only given 15:17 of ice time per night and although his corsi rating was a meager 48.5% it's fair to wonder just how much of that was on Antipin and how much of it was a product of the team that he was playing for.
In spite of some of his poor statistics Antipin did seemingly outshine some of his teammates when on the ice and was responsible for fewer giveaways than some of the more established NHL players that saw considerably more ice time than him. Over 47 games with the Sabres last season Antipin recorded no goals and added just 10 assists for a total of 10 points but when you factor in his limited ice time it paints a different picture. In spite of his low offensive numbers Antipin was averaging more points per minute than some of those same players who were being used in preference of him.
This had to also be extremely frustrating for the young Kazakhstani defenseman and I have no doubt that it was also a significant factor in his decision to walk away from the Sabres contract offer. I think it's fair to wonder whether or not this completely shuts the door to an NHL return for Antipin, but only time will tell where he goes from here.