OK, that may be a little bit unfair, but everyone needs to know that the picture his agent Rolland Hedges is painting of his client is only one side of the story, and it's a side meant to protect his client should he ever decide he wants to play in the NHL.
The story - essentially that he's being strong-armed by his family to sign in Russia for significantly more money than he was making here - is believable enough, considering that Valentenko is only 21 and, according to Hedges, has been supporting his family since he was 15.
But what I find difficult to believe is that Valentenko was unable to convince his family that in the long-term, staying the course with his NHL career was the right move here.
Now, after pulling this stunt, his chances for a future NHL gig are practically nil, and he's banking on the KHL remaining a viable league. The odds aren't very good on that one, considering a lot of the teams are reportedly deep in the red already and it's very unlikely it will be able to consistently rival the NHL in terms of high-end salaries.
As long as the KHL is around, it will be a haven for washed up NHL guys looking to extend their careers by being overpaid over there, or as a second chance for guys who have been banished like Ray Emery.
But Valentenko's best shot at ensuring his family's long-term financial security was in North America, not Russia.
As far as the Habs are concerned, this isn't a devastating blow by any means because Valentenko was part of a deep pool of defence prospects, and though his eventual arrival in Montreal was likely, it wasn't guaranteed because there was a lot of competition coming down the pipe. If anything, Bob Gainey just lost a trade chip for this year's deadline, which might have, ironically enough, had Valentenko playing in the NHL by March.