Marc de Foy of the Journal de Montréal reports the Canadiens will sign Russian defenceman Alexei Yemelin to a one-year contract.
De Foy says the deal will be sealed during Pierre Gauthier’s visit to the World Hockey Championships in Bratislava. The Canadiens general manager left Montreal for Slovakia on Tuesday. Canada plays Russia on Thursday.
Yemelin was the Canadiens’ second pick (third round, 84th overall) in the 2004 draft. The team’s first-round choice was Kyle Chipchura. Later rounds yielded Mikhail Grabovski, Gregory Stewart and Mark Streit.
Hockey’s Future describes Yemelin as “an aggressively physical stay at home defenseman, with a strong shot from the point and above average skating. Will need to bulk some to fill out his frame, improve his offensive production, and cut down on penalties. Hits and annoys the opposition.”
Russianprospects.com lists Yemelin (whom they call “Emelin”) as 6’1″, 191 lbs. He is from Togliatti, Alex Kovalev’s hometown, a city of 700,000 in southwestern Russia.
It has a certain ring to it.