While waiting on the 2020-21 NHL and AHL regular seasons to begin, due to COVID-19, San Jose Sharks prospect Ivan Chekhovich was loaned to the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League as a way for him to get valuable playing time. Unlike other COVID loans, Chekhovich committed to the entirety of the Torpedo’s season.
While playing in his home country, Chekhovich scored 17 goals and 17 assists in 42 games played for the Torpedo, adding 2 goals in four games in the playoffs. When he returned to North America in March, however, results varied. He did make his NHL debut with the Sharks last season, skating in four games and tallying 1 assist. Chekhovich mostly appeared with the San Jose Barracuda, scoring just 2 goals and 5 assists over 17 games.
This morning, the Sharks placed Chekhovich on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his entry-level contract, with a cap hit of $776,667. Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now has reported that the winger will return to HC Torpedo for the upcoming KHL season.
It’s a bitter end to the 2017 seventh-round pick’s time in teal — although he only got four NHL games under his belt, there was much hope for him after his first cup of coffee in the 2017-18 AHL season, when he scored 3 goals and 6 assists in six games, following his season with the QMJHL’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
But with the Sharks adding veterans such as Andrew Cogliano and Nick Bonino to the team and 23-year-old Jonathan Dahlen joining the team after two years in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan, Chekhovich’s path to the NHL started to look like a steeper and steeper climb. A move back to the Torpedo seems to be the best thing for his career.
At 22 years old, Chekhovich still has enough time to continue developing, so don’t be surprised if he pops back up in North America sometime down the road.