There had been rumors that young defenseman Alexander Yelesin would be leaving the Kontinental Hockey League this summer and now those rumors have officially been confirmed.
It was Kontinental Hockey League insider Igor Eronko who first seeded the rumor suggesting that Alexander Yelesin would quickly be signed by a team in the National Hockey League after he was cut from Team Russia at the current International Ice Hockey Federation's World Championship tournament. As it turns out Eronko was, as he usually is when it comes to these matters, absolutely correct and that news has now officially been confirmed by TSN National Hockey League insider Bob McKenzie.
According to a report from McKenzie the Calgary Flames organization is the big winner here with McKenzie reporting that Flames have officially signed the 23 year old KHL blue liner to his first ever National Hockey League contract. We do not know the full details of the deal that Yelesin has signed with the Flames however given his age and his status as a free agent I expect that this will be a standard entry level contract between the Flames and Yelesin.
The news that Alexander Yelesin would be coming to the National Hockey League began to gain traction following the end of Yaroslavl Lokomotiv's KHL season. There were reports that Yelesin had informed the club that he would be leaving as a free agent to pursue opportunities in the National Hockey League, opportunities that eventually led him to the Calgary Flames. There were reportedly a number of teams with interest in Yelesin however which teams remained seriously in the mix towards the end of the process has not been revealed at this time.
Yelesin is not known as a dymanic offensive defenseman but rather a stable presence on the blue line that can shut down the oposition. In his most recent season with Lokomotiv he appeared in a total of 55 KHL games where he would record 4 goals and 6 assists for a total of 10 points on the season. Yelesin would also add an additional 25 minutes of time in the box over the course of those 55 games as well.
No word yet on whether or not Yelesin will immediately make the jump the Flames NHL roster, or if he is destined for some seasoning in the American Hockey League.