Yegor Chinakhov, who has just won the Gagarin Cup, played in Junior Hockey League last season and led Omskie Yastreby in points.
Alexei Cherepanov Trophy, awarded to KHL rookie of the season by vote of coaches, who competed in the season. As per votes, aside from Chinakhov other nominees were Vityaz’s Zakhar Bardakov and CSKA’s Maxim Sorkin. The two are also Junior Hockey League alumni.
Chinakhov finished on top. Last season Omsk forward was named rookie of the month twice and was also selected as the top rookie of Gagarin Cup Playoffs round 2. Chinakhov also led U20 players in points.
Yegor Chinakhov’s hockey career began in his hometown of Omsk. His first coach was Viktor Starodubtsev, who has recently worked in Romania and Bulgaria. In 2012 Oleg Ugolnikov invited him to his team. It just so happened that the coach worked with the young player almost his entire career in junior hockey until he made the jump to men’s league, including his last Junior Hockey League season.
Chinakhov was one of the leaders of his team. In five seasons he competed in Russian championship for players born in 2001 (division Ural/Western Siberia) Chinakhov scored 113 goals and notched 133 points for a total of 246 points in 178 games. In the end of the 2017-18 season, when Chinakhov just turned 17, he was called up to Junior Hockey League for four games, in one of which he scored a goal.
Next season Chinakhov played 37 games in Junior Hockey League, scoring 8 goals and 16 points, while still spending time with U18 Avangard. In the 2019-20 season the forward scored 28 goals and 70 points led Omskie Yastreby in production.
Having gotten invited to JHL Challenge Cup, Chinakhov also pounced on the chance to prove his worth. He scored the game-winning goal for Team East and as he was selected as one of the top players of the game, he was also propelled to KHL All-Star Game.
In KHL All-Star Game Chinakhov was put on Bob Hartley’s team – who also is the head-coach of Avangard – and competed in Chernyshov Division. In the All-Star Game he scored the shootout winner and got bronze for his team.
Chinakhov began getting ready for the past season as a member of Avangard. By late August he led the team in pre-season scoring. He was also lights out early in the regular season. The forward was named rookie of the months two consecutive times. In September and October he scored 6 goals and combined for 12 points in 19 games. Hartley trusts his young player and puts him on ice in key game situations – even for the last minute of overtime. And Chinakhov proves his worth night in and night out.
In the past regular season Chinakhov scored 10 goals and 17 points in 32 games. He was called up to national Team Russia for Karjala Cup and scored 2 goals and 3 points in 3 games. At the 2021 World Juniors Chinakhov also scored a goal. In 2021 Gagarin Cup Playoffs Chinakhov was named the top rookie of Round 2. In the series against Metallurg Magnitogorsk he scored four goals. That includes the game-winning marker in the deciding game.
In the last game of the season, after which Avangard got to hoist the cup, Chinakhov could not partake because of an injury but the fact remains the same – a Junior Hockey League alumnus, who was lighting it up for Omskie Yastreby just in the previous season, made a journey to become a regular on KHL team and Gagarin Cup champion in one year.
Previously the following players were named KHL rookies of the season – Ilya Proskuryakov, Anatoly Nikontsev, Pavel Zdunov, Dmitry Lugin, Valery Nichushkin, Andrei Vasilevsky, Maxim Mamin, Artyom Alyayev, Vladimir Tkachyov, Vitaly Kravtsov, Ilya Konovalov and Artyom Galimov.