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New Jersey Devils expected to sign Yegor Yakovlev

April 27, 2018, 11:39 AM ET [17 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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I think most would agree the New Jersey Devils' biggest organizational need is on defense.

It seems GM Ray Shero and co. will take a small step towards addressing that issue sooner than later as 26-year-old blue liner Yegor Yakovlev is expected to sign with the team, according to Elliotte Friedman.

This from his latest ​30 Thoughts column​:

12. There are a few Russian free-agent defenders to keep an eye on at the upcoming World Championships: New Jersey is expected to sign 26-year-old Egor Yakovlev. Overseas reports link Arizona to Ilya Lyubushkin. I can’t pin down the team, but it appears there is an agreement somewhere with Alexander Yelesin. And several clubs continue to chase Bogdan Kiselevich. He’s 28. That’s two years older than Yakovlev, four above Lyubushkin.

Yakovlev appeared in 35 games for SKA St Petersburg last season. In those games he tallied five goals and nine points, good for an NHLe (equivalency) of 15.6 points.

His 2016-17 campaign was more impressive – at least offensively – as he registered 21 points in 56 games. That translates to an NHLe of 22.8.

Those numbers don't pop off the page but management obviously saw something they really liked if they're going to give him a contract.

They're undoubtedly very familiar with Yakovlev as he played on the same team as Ilya Kovalchuk and defense prospect Yegor Rykov, who the Devils parted with in the Michael Grabner trade (ouch).

I'm looking forward to watching Yakovlev play – and likely tracking some numbers – at the Worlds so I can see what he's about.

I'll be able to comment on him more then but for now I wouldn't expect too much. It's probably just a depth move.

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