Max Shalunov will try to win his second straight Gagarin Cup with CSKA Moscow this spring in the KHL.
The 27-year-old Shalunov scored 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) in 54 regular-season games for CSKA, which finished atop the League by one point over Ak Bars to claim the Continental Cup. Shalunov, a 2011 fourth-round pick, who plays at second- or third-line center had the same exact stat line in one less game. CSKA will face Torpedo in the first round.
Shalunov could advance and face fellow Blackhawks prospect Artur Kayumov’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team in the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Kayumov, a 2016 second-round pick, had career highs in assists (nine), goals (16) and points (25) in 60 games. The 22-year-old plays a top-nine role at left wing. Lokomotiv will play No. 3 seed Jokerit in the opening round.
Shalunov will be eligible to sign with Chicago after this season when his KHL contract expires, while Kayumov inked a two-year extension with Lokomotiv in December.
The playoffs begin March 1, and the potential Game 7 of the Gagarin Cup Final is set for April 25.
Chicago’s two other Russian prospects in Andrei Altybarmakyan and Ivan Nalimov (2014 sixth-round pick) did not qualify for KHL playoffs with HK Sochi.
Altybarmakyan, a right wing, put up career numbers in goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) in 48 games. Nalimov was traded to Sochi after he didn’t get any playing time with SKA St. Petersburg, and went 7-14-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. Altybarmakyan is the more realistic option of the two players to sign with the Blackhawks.
1 CSKA (Shalunov) vs. 8 Torpedo
- Game 1: March 2
- Game 2: March 4
- Game 3: March 6
- Game 4: March 8
- Game 5: March 10*
- Game 6: March 12*
- Game 7: March 14*
3 Jokerit vs. 6 Lokomotiv (Kayumov)
- Game 1: March 1
- Game 2: March 3
- Game 3: March 5
- Game 4: March 7
- Game 5: March 9*
- Game 6: March 11*
- Game 7: March 13*