September 30, 2014 Leave a comment
From 1997 – 2006 The Oilers drafted 13 players that were either Russian or a former Soviet Union, ranging from first to ninth round picks. The Oilers were rewarded with 214 NHL games mainly from Alex Semenov. Then from 2007 – 2011 there was nobody drafted from Russia and only Kristians Pelss from Latvia that was selected from the old USSR.
In 2012 & 2013 the Oiler’s then drafted Nail Yakupov, Daniil Zharkov, Anton Slepyshev & Bogdan Yakimov. The purpose of this is to see how the prospects are tracking versus players that played within the same league and similar ages against 12 NHL prospects that have played in the KHL, AHL & (some) NHL during their 17 – 22 year old seasons. The prospects that are included are; Vlad Tarasenko, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Artem Anisimov, Vik Tikhonov, Evgeny Grachev, Andrei Loktionov, Alexander Avtsin, Nikita Kucherov, Nikolay Prokhorkin, Nik Kulemin, Alexander Vasyunov & Vladimir Zharkov.
First let’s look at four players that played their draft year in the KHL.
|KHL Player||Age 17|
- First there is a small section of players that have played in the KHL since the league began.
- Tarasenko (Dec birthday) is the class of 17 year-old’s.
- To put this in perspective Cherepanov had .62 Pts/G, Ovechkin .43 & Malkin .35 in the Russian elite league.
- Kuznetsov & Slepyshev (both May birthdays) had good showings.
- Prokorkin (September birthday) is a little behind based but is trending in the right direction.
|KHL Player||Age 18|
- I only Yakupov in here to show that he is a hell of a good player. Who had a tough season last year. I don’t think the Blues or Caps fan bases are wanting to trade either Kuznetsov or Tarasenko without getting a clear top 6 forward or top 4 defenseman in their prime.
- To put in perspective Ovechkin, Malkin & Cherepanov .73, .61, .61 Pts/G in the Russian elite league.
- Kuznetsov & Tarasenko are competing for the best Russian prospect and this round goes to Kuznetsov.
- Tarasenko is trending down after his 18-year-old season. But this is still a quality season.
- Yakimov & Slepyshev are showing really well here. That both well ahead of Anisimov (Russian Elite League) shows that they are developing into quality players. Likely not elite level offensive players but are trending in the right direction and potential for top 6 NHL players.
|KHL Player||Age 19|
- Tarasenko & Kuznetsov both had quality seasons and are legit top 6 NHL prospects.
- Cherapanov for reference in the first KHL season had .87 Pts/G through 15 games prior to his untimely passing. Imagine if the Rangers had this guy right now.
- Prokhorkin broke out this past season and was signed to a contract with the LA Kings. He has signed to play another year in the KHL.
- This is the first appearance by Nik Kulemin on the list.
- Slepyshev is in a cluster of prospects with Tikhonov, Vlad Zarkov & Vasyunov. All three prospects were part of their NHL teams plan at this point in time but had question marks surrounding their games.
- At this point in time I think that we can say that Daniil Zharkov is likely more suspect than prospect.
|KHL Player||Age 20|
|Tikhonov – 21||0.6|
- Prospects that have NHL aspirations typically move to North America at age 20 or before. So this is the last KHL development year that I have included.
- Kuznetsov & Tarasenko continue to be the cream of the crop. They rise to the top.
- Kulemin, Tikhonov (age 21 – played 20 year-old season in North America) & Prokhorkin (19 year-old season) are the three players that we would want to set expectations for Slepyshev in his 20 year-old KHL season.
- Why Prokhorkin’s 19 year-old season? Slepy was born in May and Prokhorkin Sept. 17th. Prokhorkin was a week away from being eligible in the 2011 draft.
|AHL Player||Age 19|
- Loktionov had a strong year as a nineteen year-old. He played on a Mark Morris coached Manchester Monarchs that had several prospects that became regular NHLers. Such as; Slava Voynov, Alec Martinez, Jonathan Bernier, Dwight King, Tom Hickey, Trevor Lewis & Kevin Westgarth.
- Anisimov’s first year in North America was a success. This is the type of season you would like to see from Yakimov. If he can put up .50 – .65 Pts/G in the AHL then he is trending in the right direction.
- Grachev & Avtsin were two middling prospects who were trending in the right direction at age 19. There progress started to tail off a little later in the development life-cycle.
|AHL Player||Age 20|
- Kucherov knocked it out of the park this past year. Looking at the chart I would assume that if you are above .85 you are on your way to being a legit prospect.
- Grachev, Zharkov & Vasyunov were middling prospects at this stage. I think if you want a shot at the NHL you should be at a minimum .45 Pts/G. Anything less and you are likely not a prospect of note.
Here is a list of NHL players drafted out of Russia and including Nail Yakupov for reference. The criteria was players that played their first season in the NHL having played +35 games. With the exception of Kuznetsov who played 17 games this past season.
- Yakupov is leading the pack as an 18-year old. His 19 year-old season was a bit of a disappointment but there are lots of reasons why a bounce back is realistic (low IPP, low PDO & I think the Corsi will even out this year).
- If we use Anisimov as the model for Yakimov he should spend a year plus in the minor leagues.
- For Slepy to be considered a prospect of note he should come over to North America next year and spend at least one season in the AHL before being considered for the NHL.