The New Jersey Devils confirmed on Thursday morning, via official press release, that the club has inked free agent defenseman Yaroslav Dyblenko to a two year entry-level deal for the start of the 2017-18 season.
A native of Surgut, Russia, the 23-year-old blue liner went undrafted at the NHL level out of the KHL’s Moscow Oblast Ablant.
He’s split his pro career between the now-defunct Ablant and Moscow Spartak, spending the last two years with Spartak following the folding of Ablant. Now, he’ll head for North America, instead.
Standing at 6-foot-1 and 203 lbs, Dyblenko isn’t known for putting up strong point totals. This past year, he was good for just four goals and 11 points in 51 regular season games, and his club missed out on the postseason for a fifth straight year – so he offers no playoff numbers to examine. His career high in scoring is 12 points, which came in just 29 games during his final year with Ablant.
He offers size for the Devils, though, and could develop into a depth prospect at the minor league level this year. As a club that’s taken advantage of a handful of European free agent opportunities in the last few years, it’s certainly worth a shot.
With a standard entry-level contract, Dyblenko will be eligible to skate for either the Devils or their AHL affiliate for the coming season. By signing with the club, he eliminates himself from contention for the 2018 Winter Olympics Russian roster – but after failing to make the cut at the 2016 World Championships training camp, it’s reasonable to assume that wasn’t a consideration when he signed the deal.