The eagerly awaited news has finally arrived. Montreal's Russian prospect, the 25 year old, 6'2, 223 lbs, defenseman Alexei Yemelin is about to arrive in the NHL. The Canadiens announced earlier today that they Yemelin (Emelin) has signed a two-way one year contract with the team. The financial terms of the contract were not revealed as per the club policies.
Yemelin, drafed 84th overall in the 3rd round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft (Montreal's second pick in that year's draft), has just finished playing for the Russian National team at the IIHF tournament in Slovakia. He had an exceptional season with the AK Bars Kazan recording 11 goals and 15 assists in 52 games. Most importantly, the "stay-at-home" defenseman was a +16 at the end of the season while recording 21:18 of average ice-time per game. He was also in the penalty box for 117 minutes, a stat indicative of his aggressive and gritty play-style. Seven of his goals were scored on the powerplay. In three complete seasons with the AK Bars Kazan, Yemelin totaled 36 points (12 Goals, 24 Assists) along with 225 Penalty minutes. He also maintained a +22 record during his 149 games in the KHL.
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Alexei Emelin. Alexei is a steady, physical defenseman with strong skating ability. The experience he has acquired in the KHL over the past few years will make for a smooth transition to the NHL,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.