Sabres officially sign Antipin

The Russian defenseman has signed his one-year deal with the Sabres

Brayton Wilson
May 25, 2017 - 4:57 pm

Photo: Andre Ringuette - HHOF-IIHF Images

After months of rumors and speculations, the Buffalo Sabres have officially signed Russian defenseman Victor Antipin.

Antipin, 24, signs a one-year entry-level contract with the Sabres after spending the past five seasons playing with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres general manager Jason Botterill said in a team statement. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”

Antipin's one-year entry-level deal is the max-term he can sign due to his age according to the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement. Antipin is likely to earn the max-value of $925,000, plus any bonuses that may be included in his contract that will not count against the salary cap.

In his five seasons in the KHL, Antipin scored 36 goals and registered 98 points in 266 regular season games. In 79 playoff games, Antipin has 17 goals and 37 points, and has won two Gagarin Cup Championships.

The 5' 11" and 179-pound defenseman put up a career-year in 2016-17 with six goals and 24 points in 59 regular season games, while putting up seven goals and eleven points in 18 playoff games. While Magnitogorsk came up short in the Gagarin Cup Final to SKA St. Petersburg, Antipin was named Best Defenseman of the KHL Final with three goals in five games.

Antipin was honored on Wednesday at the KHL Awards as a First-Team All-Star for the 2016-17 season. It is the first time in his career that he has been named as a First-Team All-Star.

Antipin also just finished up his play with Team Russia at the IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany. Antipin finished the tournament with four assists in 10 games played, and came away with a bronze medal. He also came away with a Best Player honor in Russia's preliminary round matchup with the United States.

Antipin is a native of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, which would make him just the 10th player born in Kazakhstan to ever play in the National Hockey League.

The Sabres clarified the spelling of Antipin's first name, saying that it is spelled "Victor" and not "Viktor" like it had been in the KHL. Also, Antipin's last name is pronounced "an-TEE-pihn" according to the team statement released upon his signing.

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