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Columbus Signs Undrafted Free Agent Ilari Melart

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Columbus General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen used his SM-liiga experience to woo defenseman Ilari Melart, signing him to a one-year deal.

Martin Rose

I was wondering when we'd see some Finnish league players join the organization.

When Jarmo Kekalainen was hired as General Manager of the Jackets, you knew there was a good chance that he'd have some players in mind who would be good fits in North America. Apparently, Ilari Melart was one of them, inking a one-year deal with Columbus.

Per the press release from the Jackets, Melart is a defenseman who's been with HIFK for the past several seasons. His numbers indicate he's a defensive defenseman, putting up 12-16-28 in 146 career games. The most eye-popping stat however, is the 415 penalty minutes he's put up over that span.

From Matias Strozyk of Elite Prospects:

A defensive player who likes to play physically. Plays a simple game in the defensive zone and isn't very offensive. Has a decent shot. Needs to improve his speed and skating.

He seems like a hard-nosed player who'll add to the defensive depth of the organization. He'll have a chance to win a spot on the Columbus blueline, but is more likely ticketed for Springfield.