BUFFALO, N.Y. - Centre Marek Zagrapan will play in Russia next season whether the Buffalo Sabres like it or not.
The Sabres' 2005 first-round draft pick has signed a three-year deal to play for Severstal Cherepovets of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, Zagrapan's agent, Petr Svoboda, said Tuesday.
The deal was reached before the Sabres had an opportunity to retain Zagrapan's rights by making him a qualifying offer by June 15.
Svoboda said his client will play in Russia even if the Sabres make an offer.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier was not available for comment.
Svoboda said Zagrapan elected to play in Russia because he was not happy with his progress after spending the past three seasons in the minors.