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Minnesota’s Christensen signs in KHL

Jun 5, 2012, 2:13 PM EDT

Erik Christensen

Another day, another NHLer headed to Russia.

This time it’s Minnesota Wild forward Erik Christensen, who has signed a deal with HC Lev of the KHL — the league’s lone team playing in the Czech Republic (Prague, to be specific.)

Lev has yet to play in the KHL and the 2012-13 season will be its first in Russia. That said, the team has set about stockpiling former NHLers: Lubos Bartecko, Marcel Hossa, Jakub Klepis, Drew MacIntyre, Tomas Mojzis, Martin Strbak, Tomas Surovy and Paul Szczechura, to name a few.

Christensen spent last season between the Rangers and Wild, recording 12 points in 49 games. The 28-year-old is best known as one of the NHL’s premier shootout specialists, having scored 29 times in 55 career attempts. Only two players — Jussi Jokinen and Pavel Datsyuk — have scored more goals in the shootout.

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  1. hky15 - Jun 5, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Lev played in the KHL in 2011-12 campaign in Poprad, Slovakia and for 2012-13 new ownership relocated team to Prague.

  2. lordfletcher - Jun 5, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    There is a good chance that this was his last chance at a decent contract from any NHL team but it probably wasn’t going to come… can’t blame him for jumping ship. He has all the tools to be a great player but didn’t seem to ever want it enough. “if that makes any sense”. For a skater with his kind of hands, there should be no reason why he can’t be a 40-50 point player.

    Good luck kid, make your money and retire with your health.

    • stakex - Jun 5, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      I dont think it was a desire issue, at least with the Rangers. The problem was he was a healthy scratch all the time, and just never was given the playing time to develop. Really sad actually sicne he really did have the tools to be a top six forward.

      • lordfletcher - Jun 5, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        I don’t remember but as a Wild fan I recall hearing some things about his game in NYR.

        wasnt he centering Gaborik for a while last year? Around 40 games or so, and didn’t put up any numbers?

        I honestly do not know, or remember, help me out.

        I personally think he was given a quality chance in the NHL

  3. DED - Jun 5, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    It’s too bad he was never able to take that shootout skill and channel it into regular hockey. Maybe he’ll figure it out in the KHL. I wish him well.

  4. mclovinhockey - Jun 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    NHL is losing skill and depth fast. Maybe they don’t like the defense first attitude that everyone has been complaining about and want to play in a league where playing D is a sin.

    • lordfletcher - Jun 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      skill, sure, but NHL skill, not really. Please name the players the NHL is losing that makes them a worse league?

      I bet you anything 99% of the skaters in the world want to play in the NHL if they have the chance. If they’re all about staying home, I won’t blame a man for that at all… if it’s about money, I really can’t fault them either… but most are willing to make the trip to North America where the ice is top notch and living qualities can rival most countries. I would say being a millionaire in America / Canada is about the best life you can have, especailly when you play a game that you are forced to play 9 months out of the year. the other 3 months you can go home or go to space for all we care.

      The NHL is as strong as ever, and a good sign of that is the quality of play in the olympic games where most of each teams players are in the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.

  5. cameltoews - Jun 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    As a ranger fan Christensen just never came to fruition. Sometimes he showed flashes of his skill with some slick hands and a dirty wrist shot but it was like once every 20 games. He did center Gaborik for a bit and just couldn’t get any chemistry. The only thing he could do was shootouts

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