Alexei Emelin spurns Canadiens for Ak Bars
Alexei Emelin, a member of Team Russia at the '07 World Championships and the Montreal Canadiens' third-round draft pick in '04, has turned down a contract offer from the Canadiens to sign a two-year deal with Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League, as announced earlier today on the Ak Bars web site, as well as by Soviet Sport.
The Soviet Sport article quotes the 21-year-old defenseman as saying that by the time the Canadiens had offered him a contract, he already had an agreement in place with Ak Bars, and that the negotiations with Ak Bars had been on-going since prior to the World Championships (in late May). When asked if his contract with Ak Bars included an out clause if he were to sign an NHL deal, Emelin either seemed unaware of such a provision, or refused to discuss it, saying, "I play for Ak Bars now, and I will only think about this team."
Within the same announcement as for the Emelin signing, Ak Bars also announced that they have signed Lada goaltender Vasily Koshechkin. Less than a month ago, the 6'-6" Koshechkin said that was planning to attend the Tampa Bay Lightning training camp, with the hopes of being signed by the Lightning.