At the end of every month Junior Hockey League selected top players in every position in each conference. The process carried on through the Kharlamov Cup Playoffs as well, as we selected top three players after every round. It’s time to summarize. We present to you the 2018-19 JHL All-Star team. We have taken into consideration regular season and playoff performances, productivity and plus/minus. Players who have been named top in their position throughout the year have also made the team. In the first part of the series we’re going to look at coaches and goaltenders.
Dmitry Krasotkin (Loko Yaroslavl)
Vitaly Solovyov (Avto Yekterinburg)
Dmitry Burlutsky (Mamonty Yugry)
Evgeny Stavrovsky (Almaz Cherepovets)
Dmitry Krasotkin led Yaroslavl major junior team to their third Kharlamov Cup in four years. Prior to the jubilee season he also won his second Junior Club World Cup with Loko in Sochi. Yaroslavl were not as consistent in the regular season as usual. They let SKA-1946 St. Petersburg climb on top of the Western Conference and rested on third place. However, they made up for it greatly in the playoffs. ‘Railway men’ didn’t lose a single game up to the semifinal series against Mamonty Yugry. Although, they did have to battle hard in the finals. With a miraculous comeback in Game 6, Loko edged Avto Yekaterinburg at CEC Uralets by the narrowest margin 1-0 and set a new Junior Hockey League record with third championship title in franchise history.
Vitaly Solovyov led Avto to the franchise’s best result in his third year in Yekaterinburg. The team, which had never made it past the second round and wasn’t considered as one of the favorites heading into the post-season, poured it all out on the ice and deservedly qualified for the finals, losing it by a split hair. Vitaly Solovyov put together a great group with leaders on every line. Avto’s top players didn’t stay away from dirty work and stood up for one another. It’s going to be very interesting to see Yekaterinburg net season, given the fact that after such a great success they made the whole Eastern Conference treat them as a force to be reckoned with.
Dmitry Burlutsky and his Mamonty Yugry finally won medals. Last year the team looked dominant in the regular season but things didn’t go their way in the playoffs. A year later Khanty-Mansiysk were second to none in the East once again. They surpassed their closest pursuer – Avto – by ten points but it was Yekaterinburg who made a deeper post-season run. Nevertheless, the ‘Mammoths’ finished the year with bronze medals. Khanty-Mansiysk’s offense gave nightmares to all defensemen and goaltenders of the Eastern Conference. They also allowed the least number of goals in the league – just 82 in 60 games, which is a splendid result.
Evgeny Stavrovsky coaches Almaz Cherepovets – one of the most decent and consistent Junior Hockey League teams. Severstal’s major junior team didn’t break the tradition in the league’s jubilee season and once again made the playoffs. They went up against the mighty Krasnaya Armiya Moscow in the opening round. ‘Army men’ put Almaz up against the wall, but the latter responded with great team work and battling hard till the end, winning the series in the end. Evgeny Stavrovsky’s impact on the success can’t be overlooked. If anything, his dressing-room pep talk might have done the trick. That hardly comes as a surprise, given that he worked alongside experienced former Almaz coach Evgeny Mikhalkevich for many years, who was also an exceptional motivator.
Vladimir Galkin (Avto Yekaterinburg)
Konstantin Kuzmaul (Mamonty Yugry)
Dmitry Braginsky (Tolpar Ufa)
Vladimir Galkin had a breakthrough year. 19-year-old netminder played 44 regular season games and helped his team clinch the second place in the Eastern Conference. His biggest impact was in the playoffs. Largely thanks to Galkin’s phenomenal performance, Avto made it to Kharlamov Cup Finals and almost beat the reigning champions Loko Yaroslavl. Galkin was also named the Most Valubale Players of the post-season. He played 20 playoff games, winning 11 and posting four shutouts.
Konstantin Kuzmaul is another medalist of the jubilee season as he won bronze with Mamonty Yugry. Backed up by Ilya Stupin, Kuzmaul enjoyed a great regular season. Khanty-Mansiysk allowed very few goals, while both their goaltenders were on top of the league in every category. Kuzmaul played ten playoff games, while Stupin had six. After such a successful year, Kuzmaul has every right to expect to make his professional hockey debut as soon as next season.
Dmitry Braginsky was the greatest goaltending surprise of the season. Just last year Braginsky played for Toros in NJHL, but he quickly established himself as Tolpar Ufa’s starting netminder. He played 41 games in the regular season, followed up by eight more playoff matchups. He posted seven shutouts and a 1.69 Goals Against Average. Braginsky was deservedly named the rookie of the season and most likely earned attention from Salavat Yulaev’s coaching staff. It’s going to be exciting to follow the young goaltender’s further progress.