It was confirmed on Thursday morning, via a tweet from the KHL’s official Twitter account, that Danish defenseman Philip Larsen will leave the NHL once again to return overseas.
Salavat Yulaev has signed a 2-year deal with defenseman Philip Larsen. pic.twitter.com/tOsNFSAK7R
— KHL (@khl_eng) April 20, 2017
Drafted 149th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2008, Larsen had trouble sticking with an NHL club during his first stint in North America. He would spend three years split between the AHL and the NHL for the Stars – including the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season – before heading to the Edmonton Oilers in 2014.
The 27-year-old blue liner would spend just one year in Edmonton’s system before returning back overseas, skating for Khanty-Mansiysk Yugra of the KHL and then Jokerit Helsinki before attempting to make his North American return.
Now, he’s heading back overseas, following just one year in North America the second time around.
Larsen isn’t heading overseas with the hope that he’ll be able to supercede the NHL’s decision to withhold players from the Olympic Games, because Denmark failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament. Likely, he felt his opportunities for a more significant role were better overseas, given the ice time he saw for the Canucks this past year (he skated out in just 26 games and logged just over 16 minutes of ice time a night).
For the Canucks, this isn’t a huge loss, but it does come on the same day that 22-year-old rookie Nikita Tryamkin also agreed to a deal to return to the KHL (in his case, likely for hopeful Olympic participation). For a team that’s dealt with numerous injuries and depleted depth at all positions over the years, seeing two players depart on one day is less than ideal – even if, of all the players they could lose, these were lower on the list of importance.