Despite an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday, Sharks winger Alex Korolyuk has decided to spend the 2005-06 season playing in his native Russia instead of returning to the NHL. The arbitration hearing will move forward as scheduled.
"I'd like to thank Alex and Brian Lawton for notifying us of Alex's decision prior to the arbitration hearing tomorrow in Toronto," said Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson. "This was not unexpected and I respect Alex for making this family decision. This creates the opportunity for additional ice time for players like Marco Sturm, Niko Dimitrakos and Milan Michalek. If and when Alex decides to return to the National Hockey League, we look forward to him playing for the San Jose Sharks."
But if the unexpected happens, and the Sharks need to adjust for the loss, San Jose's top hockey man noted there are other options.
``We can add pieces at any time during the season if we need them,'' said Wilson.
Despite Korolyuk's decision, upon his return to the NHL, the Sharks will still own his rights for one season at the financial number awarded by the arbitrator. This will be the case, even if Korolyuk returns at an age that would normally make him an unrestricted free agent.