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Semyon Der-Arguchintsev signs with Traktor in the KHL

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
9 months ago
Pretty much as soon as the season ended it seemed that Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (SDA) was most likely to be returning to play in Russia next season. Today it looks to have an official stamp on it:
Der-Arguchintsev has taken a two year deal in Traktor Chelyabinsk. SDA’s decision to leave follows his best professional year of hockey as he put up 40 points in 50 games for the Marlies and earned himself a quick cup of coffee playing in one game for the Leafs.
While last season was a step forward for the young Russian player, he faces the barrier of being an offensively driven player who is yet to look truly dominant at the AHL level and doesn’t have much of a defensive/200 ft game to fall back on. If Semyon was going to make the Leafs it would need to be in a role at the top of their lineup and there was no way he was going to leap frog anyone to get there. And from a trade perspective there were probably few teams that saw SDA as a potential option to do the same on their team.
Der-Arguchintsev’s previous experience in the KHL was during COVID when the AHL had a limited season. He was with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod and put up 6 points in 17 games. With a couple more years of experience it is likely that he’ll see better playing time and achieve better results, at least likely to get middle six forward minutes now.
Semyon will be joining a Traktor team that has two other former Marlies playing on, most notably Nikita Soshnikov, but also Sergei Kalinin. They also have Teemu Pulkkinen to round out their noteworthy former NHLers.
The Maple Leafs did qualify Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, so his rights have been retained and if they go through the process next season the Leafs will be SDA’s landing spot if he does decide he wishes to return to North America after this two year stint, a move that could prove to be beneficial for him.
SDA’s decision also thins out the Marlies center depth and it is likely that the signing of Dylan Gambrell was made to offset the news that Toronto new was coming.
It appears that Der-Arguchintsev won’t be the only Russian returning to the KHL from the Leafs organization either.
Gogolev had been under contract with the Leafs last season before being traded to the Blackhawks, having his contract terminated and returning to the Leafs ECHL affiliate in Newfoundland. Gogolev also showed a lot of promise in junior but couldn’t hold down a spot in the AHL. His decision to return to Russia makes sense, but the Leafs do not hold his NHL rights.
The move also puts the Leafs at 43 standard player contracts, allowing Toronto to sign a maximum of seven more players (presumably a spot is being saved for Samsonov though).

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