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by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes
RALEIGH, NC (July 15, 2001) – Jim Rutherford, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Carolina Hurricanes, today announced the signing of 2001 first-round draft pick Igor Knyazev to a three-year deal. As per club policy, no other terms were released.

Knyazev, 18, a defenseman, was the 15th overall selection in last month’s NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Fla. Carolina faced a July 15 deadline to sign Knyazev or else he would’ve returned to Russia to play for Spartak.

“We are very pleased to sign Igor,” Hurricanes Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jason Karmanos said. “This will give him the opportunity to make our team. This will also get him acclimated to North America as soon as possible.”

Knyazev (6’0’’, 183 lbs.) played for Spartak of Russian Division I last season, helping to lead that team to a first-place finish. He scored nine points (6g, 3a) in 43 games for Spartak. Knyazev, a native of Elektrostal, Russia, also captained the gold medal winning Russian team at the 2001 Under-18 World Championships in Finland, leading the tournament with a plus-13 rating.

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