Nikita Soshnikov sees an opportunity to make an immediate impact with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Russian forward who signed an entry-level deal with the team on Friday appears set to make the jump to North America as early as next season due to the Leafs apparent need for quality players.
“I could stay in the KHL for another year, but TML, are going to rebuild so there’s a good chance to make the roster.”
Soshnikov added it’s been a long-time dream of his to play in the NHL, and said the Maple Leafs first approached him with an offer a month ago.
The 21-year-old had appeared in 57 games for the KHL’s Atlant club, posting 14 goals and 18 assists.
"The NHL has always been a dream of mine," Soshnikov told RSport.ru in Moscow. "I've always wanted to get there.
"Now my dream is within reach. I know that it's a two-way contract, and I probably will have to make my way through the farm club but I'm ready for it."
Soshnikov said it was important to him that the Marlies were also located in Toronto, so that management can see what he can do on the farm.
"This means that everything will depend on me," he said.
This should benefit the Leafs in the long term since they are rebuilding.