The long-awaited Sea Dogs debut of overage import player Vladislav Kotkov is now closer than ever following the 6’4” forward’s arrival in Saint John on Wednesday.

Kotkov signed with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks in July, 2018 as a free agent and has spent the last month with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. He will now finish his 14-day isolation before joining the team for regular activities.

“Kotkov is an elite goal scoring forward with NHL camp experience,” said Sea Dogs President & General Manager, Trevor Georgie. “He brings size and skill to our lineup and will slot in well with our young core of talented forwards. It’s been a long road to get Vladislav here in Saint John and we’re excited for his debut.”

Saint John acquired Kotkov in a trade with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens during the 2020 pre-season. Since then, the Sea Dogs have worked with the San Jose Sharks to secure his arrival in Saint John. Import players have had difficulties joining their CHL teams due to the changing rules surrounding COVID-19 and international travel.

“Our top priority during this process was ensuring we were following all federal, provincial and league protocols,” explained Georgie. “We look forward to meeting Vladislav following his 14-day isolation.”

The Sea Dogs roster now boasts five NHL prospects. Defencemen Jérémie Poirier (CGY) and William Villeneuve (TOR) were both drafted from the Sea Dogs this past fall while the team added forward Ryan Francis (CGY) and goaltender Zachary Emond (SJS) during the most recent trade period.

In 51 games with the Saguenéens during the 2019-20 season, Kotkov scored 22 goals and added 24 assists for 46 points. He now has 156 points in 177 career QMJHL games.

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