The Canadiens have signed Russian defenceman Alexei Yemelin (his preferred spelling, per agent Don Meehan).
His cap hit will be $984,200. There are no performance bonuses.
It’s interesting that the contract is two-way, which means Yemelin may start the season in Hamilton. It had been speculated that one of his conditions for coming to North America would be a guarantee of playing with the NHL club.
It’s also interesting that Don Meehan also represents Andrei Markov, Andrei Kostitsyn and Swiss defenceman Raphael Diaz, whom the Canadiens signed last week.
The Canadiens have four Dmen under contract for the 2011-’12 season: P.K. Subban, Jaro Spacek, Yemelin and Raphael Diaz.
The list of pending UFAs includes Markov, Hal Gill, Roman Hamrlik and James Wisniewski (also Brent Sopel and Paul Mara, but who cares?) Josh Gorges and Yannick Weber are RFAs unless signed by July 1.
The team announcement:
MONTREAL (May 17, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of defenseman Alexsey Emelin to a one-year, two-way contract (2011-12). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Alexsey Emelin. Alexsey 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.
Emelin registered 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists), leading his team defensemen in goals, playing 52 games with the Kazan Ak Bars of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in 2010-11. Seven of his goals were scored on the powerplay. Emelin, 25, recorded 110 shots on goal, while averaging 21:18 seconds of ice time per game. He displayed a +17 plus/minus differential and served 92 penalty minutes.
In three complete seasons with the Kazan Ak Bars, the 6’2’’, 223 lbs defenseman totaled 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) with 200 penalty minutes in 149 games, while maintaining a +22 plus/minus differential. Emelin totalled 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in 38 career KHL playoff contests.
Emelin, who was part of the Russian team at the 2011 World Championship in Slovakia, was a member of the Russian team that captured silver at the 2010 World Championship in Cologne, Germany and participated in the 2007 World Championship in Moscow. He was on the Russian team that won the silver medal at the 2006 World Junior Championship in Vancouver.
A native of Togliatti, Russia, Emelin was the Canadiens’ second pick (third round, 84th overall) at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.