The Montreal Canadiens have signed free-agent goaltender, Vasili Demchenko, to a one-year, two-way, entry-level contract worth $700,000. General Manager of the Canadiens, Marc Bergevin announced the deal this morning. Demchenko will join Montreal for the 2020-2021 season after seven seasons in the KHL
Vasili Demchenko Inks First NHL Deal
Over his seven-year KHL career, spanning from 2013-14 to 2019-20 seasons, Demchenko has played for the Chelyabinsk Traktor, his native club, and Magnitogorsk Metallurg. In 212 KHL games, he holds an 81-86-25 record and .925 save percentage with 14 career shutouts. He was originally drafted in the 2nd round, 46th overall by Chelyabinsk Traktor at the 2011 KHL Draft.
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound, goaltender has come off of a frustrating year. He was traded mid-season from his boyhood club and played for two struggling franchises, performing way below his career stats. He didn’t dress in Magnitogork’s 4-0 series loss in the Conference Quarterfinals to Barys-nur-Sultan.
What This Means for the Future
Demchenko joins a crowded goaltending group in Montreal. There are prospects Cayden Primeau and Michael McNiven, Charlie Lindgren and starter, Carey Price. There is also Keith Kinkaid, who becomes an unrestricted agent this summer, and is unlikely to re-sign.
Demchenko will face competition to secure the backup role behind Price for the Canadiens. Montreal’s top prospect, Cayden Primeau, has had a respectable season in the AHL, finishing tied 27th in save percentage (.908) and 11th in goals-against-average (2.45). Meanwhile, Charlie Lindgren played six NHL games this season for the Canadiens. Unfortunately, he struggled with both Montreal (.888 in 6 games) and the Laval Rocket (.893 in 16 games).
Demchenko would act as a suitable buffer in Montreal, allowing Canadien’s top goalie prospect Primeau game time to develop in the AHL, while also giving Price a night off every once in a while. Above all, Demchenko will hope this opportunity allows him to return to the form that saw him rattle off three straight seasons of +.930 save percentages in a row between 2016-17 and 2018-19 in the KHL.