UFA, Russia – Russian powerhouse Salavat Yulayev Ufa announced on Tuesday that the club signed Dmitri Kalinin to a two-year contract.
Kalinin belonged to the best Russian defencemen in the National Hockey League in the past few years but his stats ranked low in the last two years. After having had his best time with the Buffalo Sabres (2000-2008), Kalinin spent the last season with the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes, notching 17 points (2G, 5A) in 73 games.
After his $2.1m one-year deal had expired, the 28-year-old Chelyabinsk native decided to return to Russia.
The towering defenceman is the third notable transfer for Salavat after the signings of Viktor Kozlov (Washington) and the former Norwegian NHLer Patrick Thoresen (Lugano, SUI).
Kalinin played 576 NHL games (38 goals, 133 assists) including playoff games. Most recently he helped Russia defend the World Championship title in Berne contributing two goals and three assists in the title run. He was also on the team that won the 2008 World Championship in Quebec City, and he also won one silver (2002) and bronze (2005) medal.
Kalinin was also successful in the inaugural Victoria Cup when the New York Rangers defeated 2008 European club champion Metallurg Magnitogorsk – Kalinin’s team during the 2004-2005 lockout and another contender for the 2010 Gagarin Cup title.