SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) general manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov to a standard, entry-level contract. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Knyzhov is a young, skilled defenseman who represented Russia at the World Juniors and made several improvements in his game throughout the season to make it onto his KHL team," said Wilson. "He's a smooth skater who can use his speed and physicality to disrupt the opposition. We are excited to have him join our organization."
Knyzhov, 21, spent the last season in three different Russian leagues, including three games for SKA St. Petersburgh in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He primarily played for the SKA-Neva St. Petersburg team in the VHL, appearing in 46 games and registering five points (one goal, four assists) with a plus-16 rating. He set a VHL career high in penalty minutes (22) and plus-minus.
Prior to the 2018-19 season, Knyzhov appeared in the MHL and VHL, primarily skating for the St. Peterburgh VHL team. He recorded six points (two goals, four assists) with a plus-10 rating, and earned six points (one goal, five assists) in nine games for the MHL club. He was named VHL Prospect of the Month in January along with a Prospect of the Week nod for the week ending Jan. 23.
Before his time in Russia, Knyzhov first appeared in the Western Hockey League in 2015-16, playing for the Regina Pats. He skated in 19 games and registered one assist. He also appeared in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) over two seasons, logging 21 games and three assists.
Internationally, he represented Russia in the World Junior Championship, appearing in five total games.
The six-foot-two, 194-pound native is from Kemerovo, Russia.