October 12, 2015
TORONTO — It didn’t take very long for the Marlies and forward Nikolai Skladnichenko to part ways.
The two sides agreed to a “mutual release” on Monday, allowing the 21-year-old Russian to return to the KHL.
Skladnichenko originally signed a one-year AHL contract with the Marlies in the summer and participated in both the Maple Leafs’ and Marlies’ training camps before being sent to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL on Oct. 5.
Orlando has yet to start its season while the Marlies opened their year this past weekend with back-to-back wins over the Manitoba Moose.
By agreeing to a release, it’s evident that the six-foot, 198-pound centre didn’t come to North America to play in a league below the AHL. The Marlies, most likely, also had higher expectations to open the season — making it easier for both sides to walk away from their commitment.
Skladnichenko is one of the many players Toronto gambled on this past off-season with an AHL deal. With him gone, the Marlies still have 16 players on AHL contracts.
Prior to giving Toronto a try, the left-handed Skladnichenko spent parts of the previous three seasons with Novokuznetsk Metallurg of the KHL.
Toronto made another roster move on Monday, officially sending goaltender Rob Madore to the Solar Bears.
Madore started on Toronto’s lineup and backed up Antoine Bibeau in the Marlies’ season opener. Toronto will run with prospects Bibeau and Garret Sparks while Madore likely takes over starting duties with Orlando. He is also on an AHL deal with the Marlies.