Mark down another former NHL player as trying to make a go of it back home in Russia. According to Sovetsky Sport, defenseman Alexei Zhitnik, who was bought out of the last year of his contract by the Atlanta Thrashers just a few weeks ago, has joined Dynamo Moscow on a tryout contract. Details of the deal were confirmed for FanHouse by Dmitry Chesnokov, Sovetsky's Washington correspondent.
According to Chesnokov, the contract expires at the end of Dynamo's training camp. If at that time Zhitnik opts to stay in Russia, Dynamo will have the right of first refusal on any contract that he's offered.
To say that stock in the veteran defenseman has dropped over the past two seasons would be an understatement. Back at the beginning of the 2006-07 season, Zhitnik started the year as a seemingly important cog on an Islanders team full of veterans.
Despite this, he was traded to Philadelphia in a salary dump for Freddy Meyer IV. Then, at the trade deadline, Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren somehow convinced Atlanta GM Don Waddell to part with Braydon Coburn in exchange for Zhitnik. The deal has since become known as one of the most lopsided in recent NHL history. After a more or less anonymous season in Atlanta where he missed some time due to injury, Waddell was happy to buy out Zhitnik and erase the physical evidence of the biggest mistake in his career as a GM.