COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Ilari Melart to a one-year entry level contract, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. As is club policy terms were not disclosed.
Melart, 24, has spent the past several years playing professionally in Europe. The 6-3, 227-pound blueliner has registered 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points with 415 penalty minutes and a cumulative plus/minus rating of +12 in 146 career games in the Finnish Elite League with HIFK. In 2012-13, he collected 7-11-18, 80 penalty minutes and was +2 in 50 games and racked up 29 penalty minutes in seven playoff outings.
“We’re very pleased to be adding Ilari to our organization,” said Kekalainen. “He’s coming off of a strong season in one of the top professional leagues in Europe and played well for Finland at the World Championships. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in North America.”
A native of Helsinki, Finland, Melart has represented his country at several international events, including the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships and 2013 IIHF World Championships. He helped HIFK win a Finnish Elite League championship in 2010-11 and captured bronze with Team Finland in this year’s Euro Hockey Tour.
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