The American Hockey League has announced that the 2019-20 AHL regular season will be paused for the safety of its players, employees, and fans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has signed free agent goaltender Alexei Melnichuk to an entry-level contract.
"Alexei was being pursued by a number of teams and we're pleased that he decided to join the Sharks," said Wilson. "He has a unique blend of athleticism and technical play and has impressed at each level he has advanced. This past season he has proven that he can more than hold his own amongst players much older than he and we are excited for him to work with Evgeni Nabokov and our development staff."
In 16 games during the 2019-20 season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), the 21-year-old posted a record of 8-5-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average (GAA), a .930 save percentage (SV%) and four shutouts. He ranked fourth in the KHL in goals-against average and tied for 12th in save percentage. He also split time with SKA's minor league team (SKA-Neva St. Petersburg) in the VHL, recording a .925 save percentage along with a 1.96 goals-against average in eight regular season games.
During his time in the KHL this past season, Melnichuk won several honors, including KHL Goaltender of the Month (Sept.), two-time Goaltender of the Week (Sept. 23/30) and two-time Rookie of the Week (Sept. 30/Dec. 30).
In 18 career KHL games from 2017-18 through last season, Melnichuk has posted a 9-5-1 record with a 1.75 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He has registered a 58-11 record along with a 1.72 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in 74 career VHL games.
During the 2018-19 season, Melnichuk led all VHL goaltenders in playoff GAA (1.10) and SV% (.963) and was teammates with fellow Sharks prospect Nikolai Knyzhov (@NikolaiKnyzhov).
In addition, he represented Russia at the 2018 World Jr. Championship, appearing in one game, and represented his native country in the 2017-18 Jr. Super Series, leading all tournament goaltenders in games played (5).
The six-foot-one, 187-pound native of St. Petersburg, Russia, was ranked eighth on NHL Central Scouting's list of 2018 International Goaltenders.