Jan 20, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Edmonton Oilers left wing Ben Eager (55) during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. The Edmonton Oilers won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Eager leaving Edmonton Oilers to play in Russia

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Longtime fourth-line forward Ben Eager will leave the NHL to sign with a team from Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League once free agency starts next month, reports Mark Spector of Sportsnet.

This move could spell an end to Eager’s nine-year career in the NHL, which spanned five organizations and included a Stanley Cup championship with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. After leaving Chicago, Eager signed a three-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers during the offseason, which he recently completed.

Set to hit unrestricted free agency on July 1, Eager will leave the United States for Russia instead of giving the NHL another go. It’s not particularly surprising given the way his career went the past couple years; injuries and a demotion to the AHL left Eager missing most of the past two seasons.

He played just 21 games combined in 2012-13 and 2013-14 after playing 60-plus games in every season from 2009-12. He didn’t do much on the ice, either, recording just one goal and three points over 186 minutes of playing time.

It’s unclear what team Eager will sign with or how long the deal will be, but leaving the NHL at 30 years old will make it hard to come back. Given his declining role in recent years, that’s probably something Eager has accepted, and now he’s moving on to an opportunity that will likely include more playing time.

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Eager’s highest scoring season came in 2010-11, when he recorded seven goals and 17 points while splitting time between San Jose and Atlanta. Back in 2006-07, his second year in the league, he led the NHL with 233 penalty minutes as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Tags: Edmonton Oilers

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