Richard Zednik inked a two-year deal with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Kontinental Hockey League. ((Alan Diaz/Canadian Press))

The same day he was named a finalist for the NHL's Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, Richard Zednik inked a deal with the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.

The 33-year-old, who spent the last two seasons with the Florida Panthers, has signed a two-year contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the team reported on its website Thursday.

The Kontinental Hockey League is Russia's highest division of hockey.

Zednik signed with Florida two seasons ago as a free agent. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The Slovakian forward had 17 goals and 16 assists in 70 games this season.

Zednik returned to the ice this season after a horrific neck injury that almost cost him his life. On Feb. 10, 2008, his carotid artery was slashed by the skate blade of a teammate and he needed life-saving emergency surgery.

He returned to the lineup this season, providing experience and leadership to a young Panthers team.

Zednik made $1.75 million this season with Florida.