Former Kings defenseman Slava Voynov drawing interest for reported NHL comeback

Almost exactly three years after he first went to prison for a domestic abuse incident, former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has reportedly drawn "quite a bit of interest" from teams as he looks to return to the NHL.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported Tuesday that "whoever signs him -- or considers it -- is going to take some serious heat, especially on social media." But he also cited multiple anonymous sources in suggesting the 28-year-old Russian "met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the NHLPA about a month ago" and intends to make a comeback.

This comes days after Igor Eronko, of Sport-Express, reported that Voynov has been cleared to apply for a U.S. work visa.

A second-round draft pick and two-time All-Star for the Kings, Voynov was suspended indefinitely by the NHL after he was arrested in 2014 and charged with a felony count of corporal injury to a spouse. The defenseman's wife, who sustained various injuries from the incident, at one point defended Voynov in a letter to case prosecutors, but Voynov still pleaded no contest to the charge and voluntarily returned to Russia. Since then, he's played three seasons with the Kontinental Hockey League's SKA Saint Petersburg and represented the Olympic Athletes of Russia on the country's 2018 gold-medal-winning men's ice hockey team.

In the event Voynov is reinstated by the NHL, Friedman said "everyone believes that an additional suspension is coming before he can play," but the defenseman would be returned to the Kings' roster. His six-year contract extension with L.A., signed in 2013, was terminated upon him leaving the country, but his rights remain with the franchise.

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