On Tuesday afternoon, the St. Louis Blues signed their 2019 seventh-round pick, goaltender Vadim Zherenko, to a three-year entry-level contract.
The 21-year-old native of Moscow, Russia, spent this season in Finland playing in the Finnish SM-liiga with Ilves Tampere.
Prior to making the move to Finland, Zherenko played in his native Russia in both the VHL and MHL. Zherenko also won a championship with MHK Dynamo Moskva in 2021 and was named playoff MVP after going 10-1-2 with a .939 save percentage in 13 games played.
In 30 games played this season, Zherenko had a record of 11-8-11 with a 2.67 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
Zherenko is still under contract with Ilves for the 2022-23 season so between that and the Blues current depth at the goaltending position, it’s likely that Zherenko will serve out the remainder of his contract in Finland before making the transition to North America.
However, even though Zherenko will be playing in Finland, it will still burn the first year of his entry-level contract due to his age and NHL CBA regulations.
You can see the some of the more technical details that go into deciding what player gets what entry-level contract here: Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQs