MONTREAL - Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Thursday the signing of defenseman Pavel Valentenko to a three-year contract (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10). Per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Valentenko, 19, played his first season with Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik of the Russian Super League in 2006-07. Despite recording only two points in 50 games (two assists), Valentenko's contribution came in the form of solid defensive play. A physical player, he was also assessed 62 penalty minutes.
Born in Nizhnekamsk, Russia, Valentenko was a silver medalist at the 2007 World Junior Championships held in Sweden. In the tournament he registered three points in six games (1-2-3) and was voted Russia's player of the game in the gold medal match-up won by Canada.
Valentenko, 6-foot-2, 202 lbs, was the Canadiens' fifth round pick, 139th overall, at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.