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Canadiens sign Emelin to four-year, $16.4 million contract

TSN.ca Staff

10/31/2013 12:46:55 PM

The Montreal Canadiens have locked up defenceman Alexei Emelin with a four-year, $16.4 million contract.

Emelin, the team's leading hitter, has played 105 games over two seasons with the Canadiens, tallying six goals and 19 points.

"I love Montreal and I am confident that I will soon return to the ice fully recovered from my injury and contribute to the success of our team," Emelin said in a statement.

The 27-year-old was injured in the Canadiens' 2-1 victory over Boston on April 6 when he put a check on Bruins winger Milan Lucic and bounced back hard onto the ice. Emelin underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the ACL and MCL his left knee and is expected to return to the lineup sometime in November.

In 38 games for Montreal before being injured last season, Emelin tallied three goals and nine assists along with 33 penalty minutes.

"He is an important part of our group of core players," said general manager Marc Bergevin. "He shows a very good work ethic and has a good attitude.

"He can play big minutes against the opponents' best players, and hard-hitting defencemen of his type are hard to find. We are very confident that he will fully recover from his knee injury and be able to compete at a high level for many years to come."

Emelin was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.