Alexei Emelin missed the start of the season with a knee injury and could never get back to the form he had last season, leaving doubts about his future and the extension he signed.
STATS: 59 Games | 3 G-14 A = 17 P | 59 PIM | -1 | 44.4% Corsi | 3.6 Point Shares
PLAYOFFS: 15 games | 0 G-2 A = 2 P | 4 PIM | -4 | 49.0% Corsi
STORY: You knew that Alexei Emelin would struggle coming back from a knee injury suffered at the end of last season. And in the end, the longer the season wore on, the better he got. He probably played his best game against Boston in the “Hip-Check” game.
Emelin famously laid a great check on Milan Lucic and then ended up scoring the go-ahead goal on a power play drawn by him getting attacked by Zdeno Chara. It really was Emelin at his best and what his game could be.
The problem for Emelin was that often we saw the worst his game could be. He was often too slow when attacked on the breakout and had trouble turning while playing on his opposite side. His possession statistics were not very good in the regular season but saw a nice increase in the playoffs before he missed the final two games with injury.
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Emelin seemed tired and drained by the end of the playoffs before sitting out Games 5 and 6 against the New York Rangers. In Game 4, his last shift of the season, he seemed to coast over to a wide-open Martin St Louis who had all the time in the world to pick a corner.
Emelin did not have a good season. It’s really as simple as that. However, a lot of it may be due to his recovery and he should be better next season. He did have some good days, as mentioned above, but in reality it was disappointing from him.
FUTURE: Marc Bergevin made waves when he signed Emelin to a new contract before he even returned to the ice. Emelin’s performance proved why that may have been a little bit overzealous.
Emelin now has four more years at $4.1 million. He is signed for slightly more than Josh Gorges for the same number of years. I would like to see how Emelin would fare on his natural left side. He can also be traded. Teams see his big hits and can be drawn to him, similar to Douglas Murray.
I’m not willing to write off Emelin as of yet, but he no doubt needs to show some major improvement going forward when his injury can no longer be an excuse.