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Ex-Sens, Leafs D Zaitsev signs four-year deal in KHL


Nikita Zaitsev is returning to the KHL after eight seasons in the National Hockey League.

Zaitsev, who spent last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, signed a four-year contract with SKA St. Petersburg on Thursday. 

The 32-year-old defenceman has two goals and seven points in 38 games with the Blackhawks last season. He was an unrestricted free agent this season, coming off a seven-year, $31.5 million deal he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in May of 2017.

The Blackhawks acquired Zaitsev in February of 2023, along with two draft picks, from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for future considerations.

Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Maple Leafs in May of 2016, Zaitsev posted 22 goals and 118 points in 482 career games split between the Maple Leafs, Senators, and Blackhawks.

Zaitsev spent seven seasons in the KHL prior to joining Toronto.