Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sean Bergenheim, Evgeny Artyukhin Sign With Lokomotiv

Evgeny Artyukhin

According to a report from Sport Express today, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl GM Yuri Lunkin has announced the signings of three NHL forwards for the upcoming season: Sean Bergenheim (New York Islanders), Evgeny Artyukhin (Tampa Bay Lightning), and Eric Chouinard (Phoenix Coyotes).

The 23-year-old Artyukhin, a speedy 6'-5", 254-lb winger, played 72 games for Tampa Bay last season, posting 17 points (4g, 13a). He also played in 4 games for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL, after spending all of '04-'05 with the Falcons.

Bergenheim, the Islanders' first round pick in 2002, split last season between the Islanders and their AHL farm club, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He tallied 47 points (25g, 22a) in 55 games for Bridgeport, and appeared in 28 games over 3 stints with the Islanders, scoring 9 points (4g, 5a). Bergenheim also appeared in 18 games for the Islanders during the '03-'04 season.

Sean Bergenheim (#10)

The 22-year-old Bergenheim has represented Finland at various international tournaments in each of the past six years, including this past spring at the IIHF World Championships in Latvia.

Eric Chouinard, the Canadiens' first round pick in 1998, has spent parts of 5 seasons in the NHL, with Montreal, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. In 90 career NHL games, he has 11 goals and 11 assists.

UPDATE 8/7/06 - Lightning GM Jay Feaster had some harsh words to say about Artyukhin in yesterday's St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times:

"This is a player in which we've invested a lot of human and financial resources," Feaster said Saturday. "As far as we're concerned, this decision spits right in our face."

Artyukhin, a forward, signed a one-year deal with Lokomotiv after Feaster said he declined a one-year, $600,000 offer from Tampa Bay and a two-year offer that would have paid $500,000 and $700,000, respectively.

Feaster said Artyukhin, 23, who had four goals, 17 points and 90 penalty minutes in 72 games as a rookie, originally asked for $1-million and later lowered his price to $750,000.

"We have a young man sitting in our locker room with 15 goals in (48) games in Ryan Craig," Feaster said. "And Ryan Craig is playing at ($495,000 and $95,000 if he is in the minors). . . . We're not going to have that kind of situation in our locker room."

Artyukhin's agent, Mark Gandler, said he understands but also believes, "Evgeny played a big part on the team. We felt his forechecking and physical ability to take care of himself, basically dominating in these departments, deserved compensation."

Gandler said Artyukhin's decision to sign with Lokomotiv was practical as the 6-foot-4, 254-pound wing, he believes, will get more playing time and return as a better player in 2007-08 for Tampa Bay, which retains his rights.

Feaster said the club never shuts the door, but stressed Artyukhin's absence will give players such as Nick Tarnasky, Darren Reid, Mitch Fritz and Norm Milley a chance to step into that big-body role.

"Every year that goes by," Feaster said of Artyukhin, "it's a year that he's not developing."