Today, the New Jersey Devils have signed KHL defenseman Egor Yakovlev to a one-year entry-level contract. General manager Ray Shero predicted his own signing and made it happen.
Egor is a 26-year old defender with multiple accolades in his career. He just won a gold medal this year in Pyeongchang, plus in the past he was part of two teams that won one world championship (2014 in Minsk) and finishing second (silver) in 2015 with the Czech Republic hosting the event.
In those events even including a sixth-place finish in this year’s world championship, he has represented his country (Russia) 33 times and posted 5 points (one goal and four assists).
In addition, he also has won the Gagarin Cup in the KHL last year. It is the trophy presented to the winner of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) playoffs, and is named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space.
Furthermore, Yakovlev signed a three-year deal with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl back in 2011 (October). He was the first player signed by the club after the plane crash that killed the majority of its roster six weeks earlier.
Yakovlev has been a solid player in the KHL (most of the time) and it is good to see him giving the NHL a chance.
In 368 games (including playoffs), he has compiled 28 goals and 50 assists for 78 points.
Finally, the left-handed shooting defenseman has a wicked shot from either driving into the offensive zone outside of the faceoff circle or near the blue line. Good defender and will have to adjust to the NHL physicality level, as the NHL is probably the most physical league of hockey that I have witnessed out of the other leagues.