Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins has reportedly agreed in principle to a lockout contract with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, according to Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period.
With the potential of labor unrest threatening the 2012-13 NHL season, players have been discussing potential alternatives if they are locked out by the owners on Sept 15. If the report is accurate, Malkin is the first major player to reach an agreement with another team.
Malkin was a member of the Magnitogorsk from 2003-2006 prior to joining the Penguins for the 2006-2007 regular season. Over that three-year span, Malkin recorded 36 goals and 55 assists for a total of 91 points in 132 games played.
Largely considered the team's best player, Metallurg filed an antitrust lawsuit (which was later dismissed) against the Penguins and the NHL when he left for Pittsburgh in 2006. If he is forced to go back to Russia due to a potential lockout, hopefully his future return to the NHL will be less controversial.