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October 31, 2013 | 12:10pm ET
Emelin signs 4-year extension with Habs

The Montreal Canadiens have locked up defenseman Alexei Emelin, signing him to a four-year contract extension worth $16.4 million.

Emelin, 27, is in the final year of a two-year, $4 million contract and could have become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

"We are very happy to have secured a long term agreement with Alexei," Canadiens GM 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."

TFP reported on Wednesday that the two sides had begun discussing a contract and that a deal could be ironed out soon.

The native of Togliatti, Russia, is recovering from right knee surgery and is expected to be out of action for another month, though he did skate at practice earlier this morning for the first time this season.

"I am very pleased to be a member of the Montreal Canadiens organization for the coming years," Emelin said. "I love Montreal and I am confident that I will soon return to the ice fully recovered from my injury and contribute to the success of our team."

In 38 games with the Habs last season, Emelin registered three goals and nine assists for 12 points, along with 33 penalty minutes and a plus-2 rating.

Emelin was originally drafted by the Canadiens in the third-round (84th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

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