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Antropov taking speed, grit to KHL

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Former Jet Nik Antropov is joining Barys Astana of the KHL.

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Former Jet Nik Antropov is joining Barys Astana of the KHL. Photo Store

There's no new NHL work on the horizon for former Winnipeg Jet forward Nik Antropov -- instead, he'll head east to find some ice.

On Thursday, Barys Astana of the Russia's Kontinental Hockey League announced it had inked the towering 6-6 centre to a two-year contract. Antropov was familiar with the club, having played 26 games there during the last NHL lockout.

Raised in Kazakhstan, Antropov, 33, came to the NHL after he was drafted 10th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1998. In the NHL, Antropov found chemistry with Leafs teammate Alexei Ponikarovsky and had some success -- including notching 26 goals and 56 points in 72 games in 2007-08 -- though his career was sometimes marred by injury. He became a Canadian citizen while living in Toronto in 2007.

Antropov signed a four-year, $16.25-million deal with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009, and moved north when the club came to Winnipeg in 2011. He scored 15 goals and added 20 assists in 69 games that first season, but his production tailed off when the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season launched, and he collected 18 points in 40 games.

Antropov is just the latest former Jet to head overseas. Young centre Alexander Burmistrov, defenceman Derek Meech and forward Antti Miettenen have signed in the KHL or Europe.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2013 C4

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