Sopel signs two-year deal with KHL club

Free agent defenceman Brent Sopel has put his NHL career on hiatus, having signed a two-year contract with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Sopel, who split time between the Montreal Canadiens and Atlanta Thrashers last season, announced his decision Friday afternoon via Twitter. "Two years in the KHL! So excited for this new opportunity," Sopel tweeted. His wife Kelly also wrote a blog entry about her husband’s decision to sign in Russia.

The 12-year NHL veteran put up seven points in 71 games last season after winning the Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-10. His best years came as a member of the Vancouver Canucks, where he posted career highs in goals (10) assists (32) and points (42) in 2003-04.

Originally drafted by the Canucks in the sixth round (144th overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, Sopel, 34, has scored 44 goals and 218 points in 659 career games.