Harri Sateri becomes a restricted free agent on July 1, but he’s heading to Russia anyway.
The goaltender for the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate Worcester Sharks signed with Vityaz Podolsk, a KHL team. Sateri, who spent four seasons in the Sharks’ farm system, had an 18-24 record with a 2.95 GAA last season in 45 games. He battled with Alex Stalock for the backup role before the 2013-2014 season, but lost out and was shipped back to the minors. Now, with Stalock having solidified a spot on San Jose’s roster, Sateri’s chances of making the Sharks’ roster next season were slim anyway, and heading to Russia was a better option for him.
The Sharks do retain Sateri’s NHL rights should he choose to return. San Jose selected him 106th overall in the first round in the 2008 Entry Draft. He was ranked as the second best European goaltender heading into the 2008 draft, according to Hockey’s Future, but things haven’t panned out as well as he or the Sharks would have liked. Sateri spent four years in SM-Liga with Tappara Tampere before heading to America. In six full seasons as a pro, he has yet to have a winning record.
San Jose’s goalie situation could be in limbo, however. Antti Niemi is not a sure lock to be the No. 1 starter next season, and some believe that Stalock is ready to take over.