WASHINGTON (AP) — Nineteen years after defecting from the Soviet Union, Sergei Fedorov is leaving the NHL to play in his homeland.

The 1994 league MVP and three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Detroit Red Wings has signed a two-year contract with Russian club Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Fedorov’s agent, Pat Brisson, called the Washington Capitals on Thursday to inform them of the 39-year-old forward’s decision. Fedorov was set to become a free agent next week after helping the Capitals make the playoffs the past two seasons.

Fedorov spent 13 seasons with the Red Wings and later played with the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets. He was shipped to Washington at the 2008 trade deadline and proved to be a helpful mentor to the Capitals’ young Russians, including two-time MVP Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin.

Fedorov had 11 goals and 22 assists last season and scored the winning goal in the third period of Game 7 of the first-round series victory over the New York Rangers. He has 483 goals and 696 assists in 1,248 NHL games.

Fedorov’s departure is another coup for the KHL, which has lured Jaromir Jagr among other former NHL stars to the upstart league. Fedorov will also get to play alongside his younger brother Fedor, who spent parts of three NHL seasons with the Rangers and Vancouver Canucks.

Fedorov defected from the Soviet national team during the Goodwill Games in 1990 and joined the Red Wings for the following season. He was among several Eastern Europeans who left their homelands to play in the NHL before the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

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