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Canadiens prospect Valentenko bolts for the KHL

TSN.ca Staff

10/30/2008 6:11:30 PM

The Moscow Dynamo website reports that Montreal Canadiens blueline prospect Pavel Valentenko has signed a three-year deal with the KHL club.

The news comes just after Valentenko's AHL team - the Hamilton Bulldogs - gave the 21-year-old an indefinite leave to attend to family matters back in Russia. A Canadiens spokesman said the team was unaware of the signing.

''We didn't have a place for him here in the short term, but in the long term, it was different,'' coach Guy Carbonneau told The Canadian Press in Minnesota, where the Canadiens were to play the Wild on Thursday night.

''He was in the mix with the other young defencemen in the organization like Ryan McDonough, Yannick Weber, P.K. Subban, David Fischer, Mathieu Carle and Alexei Yemelin.''

Valentenko was Montreal's fifth pick (139th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-2, 214-pound blueliner played 61 games with the Bulldogs over the last two seasons, tallying 18 points and 58 penalty minutes.

It marks the second time that a player in the Canadiens' system has returned to Russia. The club lost forward Alexander Perezhogin to Ufa Salavat two summers ago.