A long time veteran of the National Hockey League may have played in his final NHL game.
According to a report from Russian Hockey insider Igor Eronko of Sports Express, 31 year old center David Desharnais has officially signed a one year deal to join Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Eronko did not elaborate on the financial terms of the deal but it was apparently enough to entice Desharnais to return overseas for just the second time in his professional hockey career.
Although I am I only speculating here I suspect that Desharnais did not receive any concrete offers from any NHL teams as I suspect his preference would have been to remain in North American. The native of Laurier-Station, Quebec has only once played overseas before and that was when he joined Fribourg-Gotteron Hockey Club of the Swiss-A league during the 2012 - 2013 NHL lockout. It's possible that he was extended a professional tryout offer but we have seen many players prefer to take the guaranteed money elsewhere than risk the PTO and get nothing in the end.
If this is indeed the end for David Desharnais he can hold his head high after a very stellar career from a player who wasn't even drafted into the NHL. Signed as a free agent by the Montreal Canadiens organization Desharnais got his first shot in the NHL during the 2009 - 2010 season, appearing in his first 6 career games. Desharnais would go on to establish himself as an important part of Montreal's depth as center and spent the next 7 seasons of his career with the Habs prior to being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Most recently Desharnais played for the New York Rangers in the 2017 - 2018 NHL regular season appearing in 71 games for the rangers while recording 6 goals and 22 assists for 28 total points. Desharnais also boasted an abysmal plus minus rating of -22 that season although the Rangers were clearly a team in decline and were also a team that traded away much of their top talent at the deadline.
Given the Rangers rebuild it makes sense to not offer a new deal to a player like Desharnais but I wish him all the best in his new adventure to the KHL.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press