Defenseman Alexei Emelin has all but dealt himself out of a career with the Canadiens. Emelin confirmed to the publication Sovietsky Sport (Monday) that he will not attend the Canadiens training camp this fall and will play at least one more season with Ak Bars Kazan. Emelin stated, “I am under contract with Ak Bars for the coming season. I’ll think about the NHL next year.”
The Canadiens drafted Emelin six years ago, in the third round of the 2004 entry draft. They have expressed concern that the longer he plays in Russia, the less chance he will be able to make an effective change to North American style hockey. At the end of next season he will be 25 years old.
Emelin, a stay-at-home defenceman, was part of the silver medal winning Russian team at the World Championships in Germany last month.
One Russian prospect who has indicated that he will come to Canadiens training camp this fall is big right winger Alexander Avtsin. Avtsin, who’s Moscow Dynamo season was shortened by a wrist injury in February, was picked by the Canadiens in the fourth round of last year’s entry draft. Two years ago, he scored 56 goals in 76 games playing the Dynamo’s junior team.
The Canadiens have two other Russian Nationals on their negotiation list; defenceman Konstantin Korneev, a 2002 draft pick and right wing Maxim Trunev who was drafted two years ago. Trunev may still may eventually make his way to Habs training camp. Chances of Korneev leaving Moscow Central Army to play have to be placed somewhere between slim and nil.