Image courtesy of Amy Irvin
According to Igor Eronko of the hockey department for Sports.ru, defenseman Erik Gustafsson has signed a deal with the KHL team Avangard Omsk. It is just speculation at the moment, but it sounds as though Gustafsson has played his last game as a Flyer.
Gustafsson is an undrafted 25-year-old d-man that attended Northern Michigan University before becoming a member of the Flyers' organization during the 2009-2010 campaign. He had seven points in five games for the Adirondack Phantoms in 2009-2010.
After making his first NHL appearance in the 2010-2011 season, Gus split his time between the NHL and AHL, as he finished with six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 91 games for the Orange and Black. The mobile defenseman also registered two goals and an assist in nine NHL postseason games. Gustafsson produced 95 points in 144 games for the Phantoms as well.
It may be somewhat of an unexpected move, but it makes sense for the Swedish defenseman. With d-men like Andrew MacDonald, Nicklas Grossmann, Luke Schenn, Braydon Coburn, and Mark Streit locked up for the next few seasons combined with the fact the Flyers have a few highly-touted prospects on the blue line expected the join the club in the next few seasons, Gus was likely going to see the same amount of playing time he did this season if not less.
Gustafsson signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers' organization in 2010, as his cap hit was $900,000 for the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and 2013 seasons. As a restricted free agent in the summer of 2013, Gus signed a deal from the Flyers that paid him $1 million for time in either the NHL or AHL.
Avangard Omsk also announced today that they have signed former Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers' defenseman Kristian Kudroc, as well as former Calgary Flames goaltender Leland Irving. The squad already features former NHLers Henrik Karlsson, Ivan Baranka, Sergei Shirokov, Alexander Perezhogin, and Sergei Kostitsyn. Avangard Omsk also features former Philadelphia Flyer Stefan Ruzicka, who played for the Orange and Black from the 2005-2006 season to the 2007-2008 campaign.