Swedish Team Drops Former NHLer Over His Ties To Russia

A former NHL forward has had his contract terminated by a Swedish club just two days after signing him, due to pressure over the player's previous choice of playing in the KHL last year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  

"It changes our stance," said Skelleftea GM Erik Forssell. "We therefore choose to break the contract."

Information emerged this past week after the club had signed 31-year-old winger Kenny Agostino that "he could have left the KHL (for SHL team Växjö) as early as March 2022, but then he chose the more financially advantageous option and stayed and played out his contract (in Russia)," according to Swedish sports outlet Expressen. i.e. He decided to stay in the KHL for the money. 

That did not go over well with Swedish supporters, and they let Skelleftea know it. 

Clearly, signing KHL players in Sweden is a no-no. In fact, Skelleftea had been the first-ever SHL club to sign a player who had suited up in Russia the previous season. But that lasted just two days. 

"For Skellefteå AIK, the question of his attempt to end his contract with the Russian club before last season has been important," said team GM Erik Forssell. "(However,) new information in the media and from other sources changes our position. We therefore choose to break the contract."

Agostino, a native of New Jersey, was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL Draft and played parts of six years in the league, last appearing in 2020-21 for one game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 86 total NHL games, he recorded 8 goals and 30 points. 

Photo: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports