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Habs and Leafs are the expected front-runners to sign pending UFA

october 20, 2019
Marc Bergevin is typically very active at the beginning of the season, like many general managers throughout the National League. Many rumors in recent days have linked the Canadiens to the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks have had a difficult start to the season and many SJ scouts were spotted at the Bell Center on Thursday for the Habs/Wild.

However, Bergevin also seems very interested in what is happening in Russia. We learned a few days ago that the General Manager will head to Russia in December to convince Alexander Romanov to come to North America to grow his game with the Canadiens for the 2020-2021 season, but the defender will not be the only point of interest for Bergevin.

Sportsnet insider Chris Johnston reported during Hockey Night in Canada that the Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens would be the two teams in a race to sign Moscow CSKA's Russian forward Konstantin Okulov.

He says the other NHL teams with an interest in Okulov are wondering if it's really worthwhile to engage in the discussion, as the determination of the Canadian and the Leafs seems strong.

At 24, Okulov, a teammate of Alexander Romanov's, has scored five goals and 13 points in 17 games this season, after enjoying a career-high 20 goals and 31 points in 48 games last season. In the playoffs, he has accumulated a total of 7 goals for 14 points in 19 games. He is currently playing out the last year of his contract in the KHL.

Elliotte Friedman already reported in April that the Canadiens had an eye on the Russian player.

Source: Chris Johnston
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