Canadiens sign Perezhogin

By Dan Linn

The Montreal Canadiens have signed former first round pick, Alex Perezhogin, who was taken 25th overall in 2001. The pick was a part of the trade of Zednik and Bulis for Linden, Zubrus, and a second round pick, which could tip the scales even further in what is turning out to be one of ex-GM Andre Savard’s best moves.

Perezhogin has been playing for Avanguard Omsk in the Russian Super League, where he earned a roster spot on the 4th line, but was moved up to the second line. Playing under ex-Pens coach Ivan Hlinka, who uses a defensive system, Perezhogin has developed a solid two-way game where he was used often on the PK. At only 19 years old, he was able to also earn a spot on the Russian National Team, which is good for such a young player, in addition to playing for the Russian Junior National Team at the World Junior Tournament for the second time in as many years.

Perezhogin was one of the top players in the tournament where he was second in team scoring with nine points in six games, and helped his team take home the gold after a disappointing tournament last year where he suffered a knee injury. He was able to pick up 15 goals in 48 games, while playing with somewhat limited ice time, and no real PP time, as his team is one of the stronger teams in the RSL, with many solid veterans in front of him.

Perezhogin is expected to be at camp in September, and could fight for a spot on the Habs, but if not Hamilton AHL affiliate just got a lot better. His main assets are his skating, speed, stickhandling, and ability to score goals while being able to play in both end of the rink.

This is the fourth signing for new GM Bob Gainey, as he recently signed Jonathan Ferland, a 2002 seventh round pick, taken 212th overall. Ferland did not need to be signed, but after not being selected in the deep 2001 draft, Ferland has a year of development over most 2002 prospects. Ferland was playing for the Titains of the QMJHL, one of the top teams in the Quebec league. He was second in team scoring this year, racking up 89 points while being a most impressive +48 (led the Q for most of the season in +/-). Another addition to a depleted Hamilton roster, Ferland will bring a physical presence along the boards. He’s a gifted scorer and solid in his own end.

Also signed was the 23-year-old goalie Jean-Francois Damphousse. He was picked up after the Flames organization had to make room, as they will split their AHL affiliate next season. Damphousse, a former 1997 first round pick of the NJ Devils has bounced around the AHL over the last two years, but he will have a chance to prove himself in Hamilton.