National Hockey League Entry Draft took place this past weekend in Dallas, TX. 20 Russian players were selected over seven rounds, which is the nation’s best result in 14 years. Almost all of them either play or have played in Junior Hockey League.
2. Andrei Svechnikov – Carolina Hurricanes
The youngest of Svechnikov brothers never played in JHL, but his older brother Evgeny played 73 games for Irbis Kazan. We are yet to see the Svechnikovs play side by side on Detroit (or Carolina) but who knows how their destinies will pan out. Andrei Svechnikov was drafted right after Rasmus Dahlin, who had been chosen by the Buffalo Sabres.
9. Vitaly Kravtsov – New York Rangers
Chelyabinsk forward unexpectedly ended up in Top-10 of the draft and got selected by a team that boasts Pavel Buchnevich, Vladislav Namestnikov and Aleksandar Georgiyev on their roster. In the past season Kravtsov turned a few heads with his play on Traktor, where he’s going to spend at least one more year. Kravtsov also won JHL bronze medals with Belye Medvedi.
15. Grigory Denisenko – Florida Panthers
Denisenko is yet another young forward who made a name for himself this past season. With Loko Yaroslavl Denisenko won the Kharlamov Cup and made his KHL debut in a playoff game against none other but the mighty SKA St. Petersburg. Denisenko still has two more years on his current contract with Lokomotiv.
31. Alexander Alexeyev – Washington Capitals
Another member of Russian diaspora on the reigning Stanley Cup champions happened to be a St. Petersburg native defenseman. He had played 20 games for SKA-Serebryanye Lvy in JHL and for the past two years he’s been on Red Deer Rebels of the WHL.
38. Alexander Romanov – Montreal Canadiens
Romanov is a grandson of Ak Bars head-coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov. He began his Junior Hockey League career on reborn Krylia Sovetov Moscow, but last season he joined Krasnaya Armiya Moscow and made his debut fro U18 Team Russia. Montréal picked Romanov early in the 2nd round.
43. Ruslan Iskhakov – New York Islanders
Another Krasnaya Armiya player has chosen an unusual way to steer his career in as he will get ready to play for the Islanders in the NCAA. Overall Iskhakov played 37 games for Krasnaya Armiya.
49. Kirill Marchenko – Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus made their choice in favor of U18 Team Russia top-scorer at the recent U18 IIHF World Championship. In the off-season Kirill moved from Khanty-Mansiysk to St. Petersburg after spending two seasons with Mamonty Yugry.
61. Ivan Morozov – Vegas Golden Knights
Morozov is Marchenko’s linemate, who also joined SKA from Ugra. However, in the NHL they won’t be able to play together. At least, initially. Morozov became the first Russian-born skater drafted by the Golden Knights. Last year this season’s runners-up selected goaltender Maxim Zhukov.
76. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev – Toronto Maple Leafs
Krylia Sovetov Moscow alumnus never played in the JHL. He is currently a member of the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. He was the youngest player selected at the draft – the forward will only turn 18 this September.
82. Bulat Shafigullin – Los Angeles Kings
Who knows, perhaps this young Nizhnekamsk forward will be Ilya Kovlachuk’s linemate. Although, that won’t happen at least for another year. Shafigullin had a breakthrough year in the JHL, won bronze medals with Reaktor Nizhnekamsk and got his first points in the KHL.
86. Alexander Khovanov – Minnesota Wild
Togliatti native had an unfortunate year. Khovanov missed almost half of the season because of hepatitis A. Nevertheless, former Irbis Kazan player’s talent is undeniable and he has a very good chance of becoming Kirill Kaprizov’s teammate.
90. Dmitry Semykin – Tampa Bay Lightning
One of the top defensemen of HC Kapitan moved from Stupino to St. Petersburg and will try to show what he’s capable of on last season’s runners-up SKA-1946. Semykin played 41 games for Stupino, scoring 15 points.
114. Ivan Prosvetov – Arizona Coyotes
Rus junior hockey school alumnus spent last two years across the ocean. Sochi have the rights for him in the KHL. This giant goaltender never played in the JHL. He was the only Russian player to be selected in the 4th round.
146. Danila Zhuravlyov – Colorado Avalanche
This Nizhny Novgorod native spent last two years in Kazan playing for Irbis. Zhuravlyov was alternate captain on U18 Team Russia. Zhuravlyov is 18 years old and played 78 games for Irbis.
171. Nikolai Kovalenko – Colorado Avalanche
Denver team went on to select another Russian. This time around they picked Kharlamov Cup, JHL Challenge Cup and Junior Club World Cup champion, KHL All-Star and son of Russian Tank Andrei Kovalenko. Incidentally, Andrei Kovalenko ahd been drafted by the Quebec Nordiques – Avalanche predecessor.
186. Artyom Manukyan – Vancouver Canucks
JHL record-holder in points and assists in single season, made his KHL debut last year and played 24 games for Avangard Omsk. Manukyan was the tiniest player selected at the draft (170cm, 63kg). However, miniature frame didn’t prevent him from making Team Russia’s roster at the World Juniors.
198. Dmitry Zavgorodny – Calgary Flames
Another Omsk native who had left Russia after playing just 15 games in the JHL back in the 2016-17 seasin. Rimouski Oceanic forward led Team Russia in points at Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
202. Shamil Shmakov – Colorado Avalanche
Colorado selected their 3rd Russian player in the draft and this time it was a goaltender from Novosibirsk. Sibirskie Snaipery netminder is often called up to U20 Team Russia. Last season 18-year-old Shmakov played 54 games in Junior Hockey League.
211. Semyon Kizimov – Toronto Maple Leafs
Kizimov is a Togliatti junior hockey school alumnus and next season he’s going to play for Lada in the VHL. However, he’s also expected to play at least a few games for Ladiya as well. Overall the forward played 68 games in the JHL, scoring 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points.
212. Pavel Shen – Boston Bruins
Last Russian to be selected at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft was another Mamonty Yugry player, who didn’t leave Khanty-Mansiysk for St. Petersburg but for Ufa. Shen played 29 games in the KHL and made his debut on U20 Team Russia.