Once National Hockey League teams had a chance to sit down and determine what needs to be done for the season ahead, some have been quicker than others to actually go out there and acquire the right solutions. One major issue that has been at the centre of many clubs’ improvement plans is the dire need for a star quality defenseman, who can push the team forward and further into the postseason. We are pretty sure the Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins can agree…
And let’s not forget how the Edmonton Oilers mentioned that they have made acquiring a top defender a priority for the summer.
While the market might be somewhat scarce for affordable blue liners out there in there in NHL, one team in need has not been afraid to look out in Europe and into the Kontinental Hockey League to land a star defenseman.
According to KHL insider and Sport-Express hockey writer Igor Eronlo, Devils general manager Ray Shero has revealed that while New Jersey has not officially signed defenseman Yegor Yakolvev, a deal is expected to be finalized between the two camps once the World Hockey Championships come to an end on Monday.
When Eronko asked the 26-year-old blue liner about the pending deal, Yakovlev was quick to confirm the rumour.
“The Devils have scouted me for three years. They really wanted to see me in the team. That's why i chose New Jersey and I'm really happy to join the organization. I know they play a fast smart hockey and I like it,” he told Eronko on Saturday as reported by the hockey writer on his Twitter account.
For the past three season, Yakovlev has played for St. Petersburg SKA in the KHL. In 35 games this past year in the regular calendar, the defender recorded five goals and nine points, and recorded a +18 differential rating.
The Devils were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the addition of a star defenseman like Yavovlev could certainly push New Jersey further into the postseason next spring.
The Oilers, Leafs, Penguins and Bruins will have to look elsewhere to bolster their back end...