Russian Olympic gold medallist Barabanov joins Maple Leafs

New York (AFP) –


Alexander Barabanov, who helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia capture gold in 2018 at Pyeongchang, signed a one-year NHL contract on Tuesday with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The 25-year-old right wing scored 11 goals in 43 games this season for his hometown club, SKA St. Petersburg, in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Over seven campaigns with the club, Barabanov scored 62 goals and set up 75 more and helped SKA St. Petersburg win the Gagarin Cup championship in 2015 and 2017.

He also netted a goal and assisted on another at the Winter Olympics in 2018 in South Korea.

"Great playmaking ability, very good in tight," Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said last month.

"One of the other things we like about him is his ability to make plays under pressure, his ability to win pucks, protect pucks when people come after him and use his strength."

When the 2019-20 NHL season was shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Maple Leafs were in an Eastern Conference playoff spot with 36 wins and 81 points from 70 games.