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Kiselevich signs with Panthers, was KHL all-star defenseman

28-year-old had 16 points, can be 'steadying influence'

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Bogdan Kiselevich signed a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 28-year-old defenseman is a nine-year veteran of the Kontinental Hockey League. He had 16 assists in 44 games with CSKA Moscow in 2017-18 and was selected to the KHL First All-Star Team.

"Bogdan is a solid, shutdown defenseman who adds depth to our blue line and possesses a strong work ethic," Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said. "He's proven himself to be a reliable defensive presence on the international stage and in the KHL and has the ability to be a steadying influence on the back end for our young defensemen."

Kiselevich, a 6-foot, 207-pound native of Cherepovets, Russia, had 123 points (23 goals, 100 assists) in 393 KHL regular-season games for CSKA Moscow (2014-15 to 2017-18) and Severstal Cherepovets (2009-10 to 2013-14).

He won a gold medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games representing the Olympic Athletes from Russia, when he had had two assists in six games. He has represented Russia at the IIHF World Championship twice (2017, 2018), winning bronze at the 2017 tournament after he had five points (three goals, two assists) in 10 games.

Agent Daniel Milstein said Kiselevich received numerous offers from NHL and KHL teams.

"Bogdan, after speaking with Dale and hearing his vision for the team, decided that Florida was the right team," Milstein said. "He told me, 'Make a deal, don't look at any other opportunities. Florida is my home.'"

Kiselevich said he dreamed of playing in the NHL when he started playing video games as a 9-year-old, then was further inspired by watching the documentary "The Russian Five" about the players who helped the Detroit Red Wings end a 42-year Stanley Cup drought in 1997.

"It's not a surprise that it's a goal of every professional player to get to the NHL and the same for me," Kiselevich said. "I feel so excited. It's a very good day for me.

"Right now I'm at a good age. Right now is the best chance for me to come because if I stay for a few years in Russia, then I'll become a man who doesn't want anything new."

Kiselevich will be reunited with former KHL teammate forward Maxim Mamin and former World Championship teammate forward Evgenii Dadonov, who rejoined the Panthers in July after playing in the KHL and was second on Florida with 28 goals this season.

Kiselevich joins a Florida defense led by Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle and Mike Matheson. Kiselevich a left-handed shooter; Yandle and Matheson were the two left-handed shooters among the seven Panthers defensemen who played last season.

Florida has six defensemen under contract for next season. MacKenzie Weegar and Alexander Petrovic can become restricted free agents July 1.

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