Former Islander 1st Round pick (10th overall, 1999 NHL Entry Draft) Branislav Mezei is bailing ship and joining Russia's new Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Report has it that the defenseman signing with Barys Astana. Terms of the deal are not yet known.
The large (6' 4") blueliner joins a near wave of NHLers that are making a move toward European leagues including Jaromir Jagr, Martin Straka and potentially Alexander Radulov. Mezei has played parts of the last 5 seasons with the Florida Panthers after starting his career with the Isles. He has never clocked more than 57 games on a season. During the 2007-08 season he set a career high with those 57 games while notching 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points. On 240 career games, Mezei managed a modest 24 points (5 goals, 19 assists), -14 rating, 311 penalty minutes and a lone game winning goal.
Best of luck to Branislav in Astana.