Before Game 6 of the AHL’s Western Conference Final, a crucial game for the Chicago Wolves, a rumor spread about the Wolves’ leading playoff scorer Tomas Hyka, who has 14 points in (now) 17 playoff games.
Hyka is in the middle of a contract season with the Vegas Golden Knights, who signed him to a one-year two-way deal in the offseason. But according to a report from Igor Eronko, it’s looking like Hyka will be headed to Russia pretty soon.
Hearing Tomas Hyka agreed to terms with Traktor of the KHL #VegasBorn— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 27, 2019
Traktor refers to Traktor Chelyabinsk, a team Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
Hyka has played 27 games with the Golden Knights over the past two seasons, scoring seven points, including two goals. He never truly found his home in Vegas, however, spending most of his time in Chicago. This offseason, Hyka would have been a restricted free agent at 26 years old.
“This season meant a lot to me,” Hyka said. “My second year in America, and I want to be better. I had an opportunity at the beginning of the year with Vegas, and it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, the team was struggling, and I didn’t play as well as I was supposed to.”
It makes some sense that Hyka, who hasn’t been bad in the NHL, wouldn’t be happy with his situation. Still, he’s not the only Knights player who’s had a hard time earning a full-time spot in the NHL — Brandon Pirri has been in the same situation, as has Daniel Carr this season and Teemu Pulkkinen and Beau Bennett last season — both of whom left for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL in the offseason.
Still, Hyka isn’t focused on what comes next. The Wolves are still playing, and he’s been a vital part of that.
“It’s my first ever Final,” Hyka said. “So it feels really good to be here, but you know, we still have four more games to win and we want to win it.”
Hyka will continue to stay focused on the playoffs as long as the Wolves are alive. The Wolves now move on to the Calder Cup Final against the Charlotte Checkers. Hyka, despite his lack of goals, has been the best passer on the Wolves’ roster this postseason.
“This is when I play my best game,” Hyka said, “and that’s why Vegas signed me, and that’s why I’m here. I want to bring my best every single night.”