By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)
Not long into 2013-14, when the Detroit Red Wings were facing injury trouble, it became clear that the Wings’ plans for Cory Emmerton weren’t what the 2006 second rounder had hoped.
Now, just under a month after the Red Wings season came to a close, it appears Emmerton is heading to one of the KHL’s expansion franchises.
In a release this afternoon, the Sochi Leopards announced they have signed the 25-year-old forward to a one-year deal.
In 2011-12, half a decade after his draft year, Emmerton finally cracked the difficult Red Wings lineup, appearing in 71 games and registering six goals and 10 points. The following season, the lockout shortened 2012-13, Emmerton suited up for each Wings game, but didn’t show much progression. In ’12-’13, the St. Thomas, Ont. native registered five goals and three assists.
It could have been expected that Emmerton would have stayed with the Wings this season, but when injury trouble struck the team, Emmerton was left off the big club in favour of younger prospects like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, and Tomas Jurco. By season’s end, Emmerton had suited up for only 18 NHL games, playing another 53 in the AHL.
In his 139 total NHL games, Emmerton has tallied 21 points (12-9), but was consistent in the AHL, racking up 50 goals and 107 assists in 270 AHL contests.
A restricted free agent this summer, Emmerton’s signing in the KHL signals that he was either frustrated with where he was being slotted in the lineup, or was told by the team that he would not be tendered an offer.
On an expansion KHL roster, Emmerton will likely get the minutes that were so hard to come by in Detroit.
If rough translations are to be believed, Sochi fans are already excited for the now-former-Red Wing to suit up: