It took seven years before the Canadiens could finally get defenseman Alexei Emelin to put his name to an NHL contract. It’s a one-year two-way deal, giving both Emelin and the Canadiens an opportunity to see how he fits into North American style hockey.
The signing ended years of contract tag with Emelin, who preferred to gain experience and major league money in the KHL, which is a higher level of play than the American Hockey League.
Scouts are saying he has the ability to make an NHL roster directly out of the KHL. The physical side of his game is no problem. He may face adjustment problems due to the smaller NHL ice dimensions which force a much faster on-ice decision making process. If so, he could start the season in Hamilton.
Terms of the contract weren’t announced as usual. It’s expected he will get the rookie maximum plus bonuses which together will total close to 1.75 million dollars if he makes the Canadiens. Because of his age, Emelin will be a restricted free agent next year. UPDATE-Canadien Press is reporting a $984,200 contract, including the signing bonus, if he plays in the NHL.
You’ll be getting two spellings of his name from now on. Emelin is the direct translation from the Russian 33-character Cyrillic alphabet. You have to put a “Y” in front of the “E” to approximate the phonetics of the Russian “E”, hence Yemelin.
From the Canadiens Publicity Department –
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 wil 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.