After one season with the Checkers, Mark Flood is giving the KHL another try.
According to the team’s website, the 29-year-old defenseman has signed with Zagreb, a Croatian-based outfit in the otherwise predominantly Russian league. Flood, an unrestricted free agent who has now completed his second tour of duty in the Carolina Hurricanes organization, spent the 2012-13 campaign with the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Flood leaves the Checkers with franchise records for most goals (13) and power-play goals (8) by a defenseman in a single season. He ranked in the top four among AHL blueliners in each category and was seventh among all Checkers skaters in overall scoring with 31 points. Flood, who was on a one-year, two-way deal with Carolina, also played for the organization’s previous AHL affiliate in Albany from 2006-09.
At the conclusion of the Checkers season in April, Flood admitted that he was considering a return to Europe.
“I’m open to anything," he said at the team's annual exit meetings. "I don’t know what’s going to happen because I’m getting a bit older and it’s a different situation than some of the younger guys. I just want to go somewhere where it’s a good situation for me and my family.”
Of the 17 Checkers players without a contract for next season, including 10 unrestricted free agents, Flood is the first to agree to a new deal in Carolina or elsewhere. Of the six defensemen who spent the majority of last season in Charlotte, only two – rising sophomores Danny Biega and Keegan Lowe – are locked in for next season, though an influx of rookies, not to mention signings that could come at a later date, will help restore any lost depth.
Montreal’s sixth-round draft pick in 2003, Flood scored 177 points (56g, 121a) in 391 career AHL games with Syracuse, Albany, Bridgeport, Manitoba, St. John’s and Charlotte. He also posted eight points (3g, 5a) in 39 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Winnipeg, the most recent of which came during the 2011-12 season.