Hurricanes defenseman Joey Keane has signed a one-year deal with Spartak Moscow. Keane will be leaving the Chicago Wolves to continue his development in the Russian capital. Leaving as a Calder Cup winner, the Hurricanes will retain the rights of the Chicago native until they trade them, he comes back to North America, or until Joey Keane turns 27 years old. Remembering he is only 23 now, this is okay for the near future.
Keane was acquired in a trade from the New York Rangers that saw the Canes part ways with former first-round draft pick Julien Gauthier. Since joining the organization just before the 2019 NHL trade deadline, Keane has been a strong addition to the prospect pool. Carolina’s right side of the blue line has a lot of strong talent coming through, but Keane had been seen as the next one to come through.
We know that the Hurricanes have 4 right-shot defensemen under contract as it is with another one seeking arbitration, so for Keane, this is a no-brainer of a decision. He’ll get playing time in the KHL with Spartak Moscow, where he will play against most of the best players in the world that are not in the NHL. He’ll become familiar with some of the Hurricanes prospects that currently take part in the KHL season too, but he’ll become a better player overseas.
Keane will be on the same KHL team as Alexander Nikishin. Nikishin is another defensive prospect that the Hurricanes have in the pipeline, and while his loyalty to his Russian club has been annoying for those of us that want him to cross the oceans, he’s become a fantastic player for Spartak Moscow. If Joey Keane can take a few steps in the same role, he could return from Russia a player ready for the NHL.