It's ironic that Zubarev's rights are owned by a team called Atlant and a team called Atlanta. The Thrashers drafted the 21-year-old in the sixth round in 2005.
Last year, under Russian Super League rules, teams could dress 22 skaters, so they usually dressed 8 defensemen and 12 forwards. This year, under KHL rules, they can only dress 21 skaters, so they generally go with 7 defenders.
Below is an email from HF's Russia correspondent, in response to some of the questions I had on Zubarev's trade. Note that he uses the term "line" to mean five-man unit, not just forward line.
"Zubarev was the spare [7th defender], playing with Johansson and/or Mukhachev and was on Bumagin/Lazarev’s line [unit]. About ice time, it’s a bit too early to judge. He got good space in Kazan, but I think that he needed some fresh air as his career started going downhill last season…the whole team was having some difficulty and among Bilyaletdinov’s desperation moves there was some shuffle in the lineup that cost him his usual place. Right now he’s playing well even though he didn’t play today against Dynamo as I believe the coach wanted to try some young players, a thing that happens in Russia especially in the first part of the season."
Interestingly, former Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery is also on the team and has already lost his starting spot to the younger Vitaly Kolesnik, who was formerly a Colorado Avalanche prospect.