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Top Russian Prospects from the KHL: Who's Coming Over in 2020?

By Caser · Mar 9, 2020 · Updated Mar 9, 2020
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3/5,
  1. Caser
    Regular season has concluded in Russian leagues, so it might make sense to start looking at the prospects and RFAs, who might decide to move to NA this offseason. And by the offseason I mean mostly the time after the 30th of April, as the KHL has changed the rules regarding contract terminations that allowed Gavrikov and Gusev to go overseas early and burn down a year of the ELC. Although I should note that every rule has an exception, as Blackhawks' prospect Ivan Nalimov has already signed an AHL deal just couple of days ago.

    Since the last year's format got a pretty good feedback, this year again I tried to make that in a form of a ranking with players ranked by a combination of the current ability/talent and probability of moving to the NHL. The aforementioned probability a very approximate thing and, obviously, estimated from my point of view, so take it with a grain of salt. And feel totally free to disagree.

    Let's start then, you'll never guess who I have as my Nr.1 here...



    1. W Kirill Kaprizov (NHL rights: Minnesota Wild)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 99.(9)%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Top-six winger (NHL)

    ...oh, you guessed it somehow, that's amazing. Seriously though, as usual in the most obvious cases, there's not too much to write here aside from the obvious things: Kaprizov will be in Minnesota and is expected to be good there.


    2. GK Ilya Sorokin (NHL rights: New York Islanders)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 90%
    Projected role next season (if signs): 1A/1B goalie (NHL)

    Pretty obvious situation with Sorokin too, the only question mark is over him Vs. Lou in terms of the contract negotiations.


    3. LW Grigoriy Denisenko (NHL rights: Florida Panthers)

    Probability of signing in the NHL: 85%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Top-six LW (AHL)

    Lets face it: Denisenko wasn't really good in the KHL: he showed flashes of his trademark skill, but his game always was lacking that maturity element required to play at that level full-time. Still he is an explosive skater, can create that offense and talks are indicating that likely he will try to fulfill that talent in NA next season.


    4. LD Alexander Romanov (NHL rights: Montreal Canadiens)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 70%
    Projected role next season (if signs): 3rd pairing D (NHL)

    In Romanov's case the talent is there, but looking at his game I still have a feeling that it would be useful to wait something like one more year to polish it a bit. Sounds like he is going to make the jump this summer though.


    5. LHD Nikita Tryamkin (NHL rights: Vancouver Canucks)

    Probability of signing in the NHL: 90%
    Projected role next season (if signs): 3rd pairing D (NHL)

    Unfortunately Tryamkin failed to make the progress that was expected from him back at the time of his return to the KHL. With that being said, we should remember that even in his first NHL stint he looked much better on the NHL ice than he did in the KHL, so there's a possibility that something good will happen this time too.


    6. W Anton Slepyshev (NHL rights: Edmonton Oilers)

    Probability of signing in the NHL: 65%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Top-nine winger (NHL)

    While being rather silent in the KHL in most of his time there, Slepyshev has been crazy good recently, showing his best hockey ever. If he can continue that way next season (especially without Kaprizov playing on his line), the Oilers could really use him. On the other hand, if he decides to wait just one more year, he will become UFA next summer, so the offer from the Oilers should be real good.


    7. C/W Maxim Shalunov (NHL rights: Chicago Blackhawks)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 55%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Middle-six winger (NHL)

    If you like to use the "enigmatic Russian" narrative, Shalunov gives a good opportunity for that: some solid offensive talent, a lot of ups and downs during the course of his career, unclear projection to the NHL game with further plans unclear too. With that being said, I have a feeling that he would like to give it another try in NA.


    8. LW Andrei Altybarmakyan (NHL rights: Chicago Blackhawks)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 70%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Top-six winger (AHL)

    While showing off some intriguing pieces of attacking skillset, Altybarmakyan failed to actually become an undisputed full-time KHLer, not even talking about properly producing at that level, although I'd say there was some progress this season. Recent reports are suggesting that he is seriously considering crossing the pond this summer, not sure if that's a great idea at this point though.


    9. RW/C Alexander Dergachyov (NHL rights: Los Angeles Kings)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 60%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Bottom-six winger (NHL or AHL)

    Dergachyov found himself to be totally stuck on a 4th line role in the KHL in the recent years, so the common sense is telling me that somekind of a restart might be pretty useful. On a positive side, looking at his game, he is a quality role player and I kind of can't think why he couldn't successfully do the same stuff on the 4th line in the NHL.


    10. RW Arsen Khisamutdinov (NHL rights: Montreal Canadiens)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 75%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Middle-six winger (AHL)

    Already at the draft there were talks that Khisamutdinov is willing to join the Canadiens organization as soon as possible, so likely this moment is now. Similarly already back then there were questions about what he can actually bring to the table and those are still being asked.


    11. LD Dmitriy Semykin (NHL rights: Tampa Bay Lightning)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 70%
    Projected role next season (if signs): D in the ECHL/ AHL

    Semykin is a physical beast, who is still stuck in the juniors. I don't think this situation is something he enjoys, so the jump to NA seems very probable to me, maybe Lightning organization's coaches can do something good with his natural giftedness.


    12. C/W Alexander Kadeikin (NHL rights: Detroit Red Wings)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 45%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Middle-six forward (AHL)

    At this point likely only the real diehard Red Wings fans can remember who Kadeikin is, but he has finally found his game as a quality two-way guy in the KHL. Considering that the Red Wings are in a position, where all the assets possible (that are not named Evgeny Svechnikov) could be useful, it might be beneficial for both sides to at least consider that opportunity.


    13. W Timur Ibragimov (NHL rights: San Jose Sharks)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 55%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Middle-six winger (ECHL/AHL)

    Considering Ibragimov isn't likely to get a lot of opportunities in the SKA organization and that the Barracuda team has quite a lot of Russians, I'd say that the move is pretty possible. Not sure what will be the impact of that and if it can be at least at the AHL level.


    14. C/W Pavel Kraskovskiy (NHL rights: Winnipeg Jets)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 50%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Bottom-six center (AHL)

    Kraskovskiy's development hit the wall couple of years ago and hasn't recovered since then. Depending on what he wants to do with his career, there might be an option to go to NA, as an opportunity for a restart. He still got the size and still can play some two-way game, maybe something good can be made out of that.


    15. W Semyon Kizimov (NHL rights: Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 35%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Bottom-six winger (AHL)

    Kizimov's career is kind of in limbo now: he is not contracted to any KHL organization, also not having a big role and a lot of progress with Lada in the VHL. Moving to NA might be an option in this situation, but I doubt he will do that at least at this point.


    16. W Kirill Tyutyayev (NHL rights: Detroit Red Wings)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 30%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Top-nine winger (AHL)

    It doesn't make any sense for Tyutyayev to cross the pond at the moment when he has recovered from an injury and his development is trending up (and therefore it would be a good idea to continue that), but the Red Wings are badly in need of someone in their system, who can play hockey (and is not named Evgeny Svechnikov), so there's a possibility.


    17. C/W Vasiliy Glotov (NHL rights: Buffalo Sabres)

    Probability of signing in the NHL: 10%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Middle-six forward (AHL)

    Glotov has just started restarting his career in the KHL this season, so it makes no sense for him to return to NA now, still I will list him here just to remind the Sabres fans that he still exists.


    18. RW Nikolai Chebykin (NHL rights: Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 5%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Bottom-six winger (ECHL)

    19. W/C Vladimir Bobylyov (NHL rights: Toronto Maple Leafs)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 5%
    Projected role next season (if signs): Bottom-six forward (ECHL)

    20. GK Konstantin Volkov (NHL rights: Nashville Predators)
    Probability of signing in the NHL: 5%
    Projected role next season (if signs): 1A/1B goalie (ECHL)

    Chebykin, Bobylyov and Volkov are pretty much VHL-ers now, so the chance they sign with their NHL organizations is almost non-existent, but let's not forget that they are still rather young and still have time to prove everybody wrong.



    While I acknowledge that there are some other guys, whose rights belong to NHL organizations with expiring KHL contracts like Chudinov, Vasilyev, Galimov etc., I decided not to list them, as the probability that they will move is just not there, as they are established players and look happy where they are (and they totally have a right to be that way). Similarly, players, who are currently RFAs, but will be UFA at the 1st of July, 2020 are not listed, I think there's no need to explain why.

    As usual, any kind of feedback and questions are welcome.

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