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Egor Yakovlev, Devils agree on entry-level deal

The off-season for the National Hockey League has not yet officially begun but that is not stopping New Jersey Devils General Manager Ray Shero from improving his club. Late Monday morning, Shero agreed to terms with former SKA St. Petersburg defensman Egor Yakovlev on a one-year, entry-level contract that will bring the 6’0 blue-liner over from the Kontinental Hockey League to the NHL.

Yakovlev, 26, has spent the past six seasons playing in the KHL while splitting time between both Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and SKA St. Petersburg. The Magnitogorsk, Russia native has appeared in 301 KHL games, tallying 26 goals and 42 assists for 68 points. Yakovlev also represented his country at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, where he helped the Olympic Athletes of Russia take home a gold medal.

His name will not be found on the score sheet on a nightly basis, but Yakovlev can bring some key elements to a Devils defensive corps that showed signs of inconsistency throughout the season. Yakovlev is scouted as being a speedy defenseman with a great first pass. Breaking out of the defensive zone was an issue for New Jersey all season long. Having a young, mobile defenseman with a strong outlet pass can help fix those problems.

Yakovlev will look to find himself a spot on a Devils defense that is relatively shallow on the left side. Captain Andy Greene is in the later stages of his career and John Moore is a pending free-agent this summer. The brightest spot on New Jersey’s blue-line was Will Butcher, who tallied 44 points in his rookie campaign. With a strong training camp and preseason, Yakovlev could find his way onto the opening night roster for his new club.

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