With the vast unpredictability circulating around the potential 2020-21 American Hockey League season, players from teams across the league have begun exploring further playing options for this coming year – or more specifically, the fall months of the 2020-21 hockey season.
With the NHL (December 1) and AHL (December 4) having announced their earliest possible starting dates, minor league players who have been away from the game since the COVID-19 league shutdown in March are eagerly licking their chops for a chance to suit up in live game action to get in some reps in preparation for the 2020-21 AHL/NHL season.
On Tuesday, SKA St. Petersburg of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League announced that it had acquired the rights to Jets prospect Mikhail Berdin from Sochi in exchange for Swedish forward Oskar Steen. “The goaltender, who has recently returned from North America, will shortly sign a contract with SKA which will run until the end of the 2020/2021 season,” read a release from the SKA St. Petersburg website.
Despite no official contract included or a loan information bulletin issued from the Jets, the deal is apparently close to completion. The language used indicates that the 22-year-old goaltender will spend the duration of the 2020-21 season with SKA – which at this point would circumvent the former sixth round draft pick’s (157th overall in 2016) current deal with Winnipeg.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound backstop has spent the past two seasons with the Moose, where he owns a 2.70 goals against average and a .916 save percentage through 65 regular season contests, including 42 games in 2019-20. Berdin went 20-21-1 with two shutouts last season, following a shortened 12-8-3 campaign in his AHL debut season in 2018-19.
Many other members of the Manitoba Moose have already travelled overseas to new European clubs for the fall months (or more) during the AHL break, including: