MOSCOW, April 16 (R-Sport) - Edmonton Oilers defenseman Anton Belov is to return to his native Russia with SKA St. Petersburg following an unsuccessful debut season in the NHL, SKA said Wednesday.
Belov, 27, signed for Edmonton on a one-year entry-level contract as an undrafted free agent last year but failed to establish himself in the NHL, posting one goal and six assists in 57 games as Edmonton missed the playoffs.
“SKA hockey club has reached an agreement with Anton Belov, defenseman for the Edmonton Oilers and the Russian national team, according to which the player will spend the next four seasons with SKA,” the St. Petersburg team said in a website statement.
In December, Belov told R-Sport he was struggling to adapt to the smaller ice in the NHL and was not showing off his offensive skills.
Belov played in the KHL for CSKA Moscow and Avangard Omsk before moving to Canada and has a career KHL record of 15 goals and 49 assists in 227 games.
He is known in Russia for playing a crucial role in the 2012 KHL Gagarin Cup finals, when his Avangard team lost the series 4-3 to Dynamo Moscow after having led 3-0 before Belov was excluded for failing a doping test. He eventually served a three-month suspension.
Belov was on the roster of the Russian team that lost in the quarterfinals of February's Sochi Olympics.