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Almquist Latest Former Red Wings Player To Sign with KHL

Ex-Red Wings Chelios, Pulkkinen also playing in KHL

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Adam Almquist, former Red Wings
A member of the Red Wings in 2013-14, defenseman Adam Almquist is playing in the KHL.

A day after Swedish players were being issued warnings about the consequences of doing so, one time Detroit Red Wings defenseman Adam Almquist was agreeing to terms on a contract to play for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL.

Almquist, 31, has spent the past two seasons toiling for Dynamo Minsk, a Belarus-based KHL squad. His production last season was three goals and 23 assists in 41 games. In total, this will be Almquist’s fifth season skating in the KHL.

Several Swedish players, including goalie Magnus Hellberg, who played briefly for the Red Wings late last season, were abandoning their KHL contracts when Russia invaded Ukraine. However, not only did Almquist opt to be staying, he’s moving directly to a club that is situated in Russia.

One day prior to the announcement about Almquist’s move, the Swedish Hockey Association was confirming that all Swedish players under contract to KHL clubs would not be taken into consideration to play for the national team.

“We have come to the conclusion that it is not compatible to play in the KHL and at the same time represent Sweden in the national team under the current circumstances,” SHA chairman Anders Larsson told Aftonbladet.se. “Based on our basic value principle and what Swedish ice hockey stands for, it is important that we are clear in this respect given the situation that prevails in the world.”

Three Former Red Wings In KHL

Almquist is among six Swedes playing in the KHL. He’s also one of three former Red Wings who are suiting up for KHL clubs. Almquist played two games for the Red Wings in 2013-14 and spent three seasons with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins.

Forward Teemu Pulkkinen will be Almquist’s teammate with Traktor Chelyabinsk. Pulkkinen was with the Red Wings from 2013-16 and also spent a trio of seasons performing for the Griffins. He’s the KHL’s lone Finnish player.

He’s been with the club since 2021 and is signed through the end of the 2023-24 season. Ivan Savin, General Director of the Traktor club, was heaping praise on Pulkkinen for not backing out of his contract.

“Pulkkinen returned to the club without any conditions,” Savin told Sport-Express.ru. “He is a professional. We must pay tribute to him and his agent – they fulfilled all the agreements.

“The only thing was the desire to reduce his presence in the media to a minimum. One thing is required of him – to go on the ice and do what he can do.”

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The third former Red Wings player in the KHL is defenseman Jake Chelios. A Detroit defenseman in 2018-19, the son of Red Wings legend Chris Chelios will be playing his fourth season with Kunlun Red Star. That’s the KHL club based in China.

Two players from last season’s Griffins – forward Dennis Yan (Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod) and defenseman Ryan Murphy (Salavat Yulaev Ufa) – are also playing this season in the KHL.

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Gordon Cheswick

Players who do not make or cannot stay in either the NHL or AHL level, often opt for the biggest cheque they can find. I’ve seen it dozens and dozens of times. It is basically all they know, because they were drafted at 15 or 16 and schooling was tertiary in their lives. If they don’t make it – their skills are limited to lower scale hockey until they cannot play anymore. If they are really lucky, their hometown gets them coaching or ice rink management jobs

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