New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh became the first American to sign a lockout deal in the KHL on Thursday, joining Barys Astana in Kazakhstan.
The 23 year old has been summoned to help plug the second leakiest defense in the Eastern Conference, which has shipped 48 goals in just 15 games.
McDonagh is likely to make his debut on Saturday in a home match against Spartak Moscow.
“On October 11, American hockey player Ryan McDonagh passed a medical in Astana and signed a contract with Barys till the end of the season,” a website statement said. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan.
McDonagh joins a team that is currently eighth in the conference with six wins and nine defeats, and already boasting one NHL exile in Winnipeg Jets forward Nikolai Antropov.
Since the lockout was announced last month, 33 players have joined the expanding Russian-based league. Almost all are of Russian or Eastern European origin, returning to their boyhood teams.
McDonagh joins Evander Kane as an exception, after the Jets' Canadian wing joined Dynamo Minsk earlier this month to become the first North American lockout acquisition.