Canadiens ink D Emelin to 4-year extension

Montreal, QC ( - The Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Alexei Emelin to a four-year contract extension on Thursday.

The 27-year-old Russian has yet to play this season as he continues to recover from a May procedure to repair damage to both the ACL and MCL in his left knee.

"We are very happy to have secured a long term agreement with Alexei," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. "He is an important part of our group of core players. 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 defensemen 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, who was injured in a game against Boston on April 6, is expected to return in late November or early December. Despite the injury, he still wound up leading the team with 110 hits last season.

In 105 career NHL games, Montreal's 2004 third-round pick has totaled six goals and 13 assists.