25.01.2024 в 15:00

The most promising 2004-born players: Michkov, Kantserov, Perevalov and other stars

KHL channels broadcaster and expert Anton Vasyatin presents top ten 2004-born prospects. The list includes OLIMPBET JHL players in the 2023/24 season, as well as KHLers with JHL experience.

Matvei Michkov, forward (SKA-1946/SKA-Varyagi/Kapitan)

In the JHL: 111 games, 134 (86+48) points

A player who needs no introduction. As one of the most popular players of Russian kids’ hockey, Matvei maintained this status at the JHL level as well. In his very first game, he scored against Saint Petersburg Dynamo, and in the same season (2020/21) he surpassed Nikita Kucherov’s record for points for a 16-year-old. The following season was even more successful, his team SKA-1946 managed to win the Kharlamov Cup and Michkov scored the series-clinching lacrosse-style goal.

After the triumphant 2022 playoffs, the forward did not play for SKA junior teams, and appeared in the JHL only with Kapitan, as he was loaned to Sochi. Matvei became a leader right away and helped the team clinch a playoff berth for the first time in eight years. Michkov will still be eligible for the JHL till the end of the 2024/25 season, but given the forward’s performance in the KHL, it’s hardly likely that Matvei will return to the Junior League.

Sergei Ivanov, goalie (SKA-1946/SKA-Varyagi)

In the JHL: 86 games, 45 wins, 2.48 GAA, 92.6 %Sv

Like Michkov, goalie Sergei Ivanov moved to the SKA system in the 2020 offseason, after his successful performance at the Youth Olympic Games. He started with playing mainly for SKA-Varyagi, but in the 2021/22 season, when SKA-1946 won the championship, he was their starting goalie. After that, there were very few JHL games Ivanov appeared in, except for the 2023 playoffs, when his team was close to making it to the finals again. In total, he played almost a hundred games at the junior level with a 92.6 save percentage and had just a few bad games. In the 2023/24 season, the goalie is loaned to Admiral and is helping the Vladivostok team make it to the Eastern Conference’s top-eight. To his credit, several games were clinched outright thanks to the solid performance of the young player. 

Sergei Murashov, goalie (Loko)

In the JHL: 124 games, 79 wins, 2.03 GAA, 93.4 %Sv

Murashov often was Sergei Ivanov’s goalie partner on the U18 team. In most of the cases, one of these two was the Russian team’s starting goalie at major international tournaments. The Yaroslavl netminder’s first JHL season (2021/22) was a success, owing also to joining the Eastern Conference team. With Loko-76, Murashov played 41 games, was kept busy in net and had 21 wins. The following season was also sterling, but he was already with Loko, Sergei picked up his award as the best goalie. In his last season at the junior level, the goalie pursues the only goal – winning the Kharlamov Cup. And for now, Murashov gives every chance to his team, while still managing to appear in the KHL with Lokomotiv.

Kirill Dolzhenkov, forward (Krasnaya Armiya)

In the JHL: 108 games, 86 (36+50) points

There aren’t too many hockey players who are almost two meters tall and have a high level of skill. That’s exactly the case for Kirill Dolzhenkov. Having made his debut in the 2021/22 season with the rather experienced Krasnaya Armiya, the forward quickly fitted in and made a good showing in the playoffs when the Moscow team made it to the finals (he scored 8 points in 19 games). The following year, the forward became the team’s top scorer in the regular season with 45 points, he kept demonstrating his leadership qualities and improving his game in many aspects. In the 2023/24 season, Dolzhenkov rarely appears in the JHL and scores goals for CSKA. But it is entirely possible that we might see him wearing a Krasnaya Armiya jersey for playoff games.

Gleb Trikozov, forward (Omskie Yastreby)

In the JHL: 142 games, 145 (72+73) points

Another talented player who quickly became a leader at the JHL level. Avangard trainee Gleb Trikozov had 31 points in his debut season with Omskie Yastreby, and 45 in the following regular season, with 14 fewer games played. The forward would move into top gear in the decisive playoff games. In two consecutive seasons, he performed well in the playoffs and scored some important goals (17 goals in 30 games, including three game-winners in a row in the series against Mamonty Ugry). Trikozov is a great finisher, capable of powering around several opponents before taking a shot. He is one of the best 2004-born players in Russia. Trikozov is eligible for the JHL (and he is sometimes dressed for junior team’s games, but not too often), while he plays way more games at the men’s level, being one of the best goal scorers of Omskie Krylya VHL team.

Stepan Zvyagin, forward (Dinamo-Shinnik)

In the JHL: 51 games, 52 (21+31) points

The only representative of the Belarus national team on the list. Stepan Zvyagin was born in Moscow and is a Spartak alumnus, but several years ago he moved to Belarus and started playing for their national team. Among all the top players, Zvyagin is probably the fastest one. He is able to accelerate quickly and get away from almost any opponent. He made his JHL debut in the 2022/23 season, when Dinamo-Shinnik returned to the League. Since then, Zvyagin averages one point per game and in the 2023/24 season, he is second to only Ivan Demidov. At the same time, Zvyagin not only managed to make his KHL debut, but also scored for Dinamo. Now he maintains the status of the junior team’s leading forward, and also receives callups to the Belarus KHL team.

Maxim Maltsev, forward (Loko)

In the JHL: 162 games, 110 (61+49) points

The key center of Yaroslavl Loko also gains a rightful spot on the top 2004-born players list. His progress in the JHL was not rapid, even though Maxim Maltsev had been a leading player of Lokomotiv at the kids’ level. As time went on, he managed to become a leader of the junior team as well. The 2023/24 season is a breakthrough one for him. The forward does a good job at consistently producing points, including when playing on special teams, and contests the title of Loko’s top scorer. So far, he is just a little behind Ilya Rogovsky, while he has played fewer games. There is no guarantee that he will move up the tiers in the 2023/24 season, but fans might well see Maltsev in the VHL or even in the KHL next fall.

Alexander Perevalov, forward (Loko/Loko-76)

In the JHL: 90 games, 77 (39+38) points

Yet another forward related to Lokomotiv. Unlike Maltsev, Perevalov’s first JHL season was incredible. He gave a good showing, scored 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists) in 44 regular-season games. The forward kept scoring goals and creating chances for his teammates, battled hard, basically, stayed on top of things. Then a tough period of his career started. He played in the JHL, the VHL, and the KHL, being loaned first to Kunlun Red Star and now to Sochi. But the challenges of moving up the tiers do not change the fact that the player has a high level of individual skills. There is a good chance that we will see Alexander performing at the men’s level as well as he did in the JHL from 2021 to 2022.

Roman Kantserov, forward (Stalnye Lisy)

In the JHL: 164 games, 143 (72+71) points

One can hardly be surprised by successful performance of young players in Metallurg coached by Andrei Razin. Roman Kantserov is one of these forwards. But before making it to the KHL, he made a name for himself with Stalnye Lisy. Kantserov had two impressive seasons and literally led the team, this was from 2021 to 2023. The forward scored more than 50 points per regular season. Perhaps he would still be playing at the same level now, but he seized a chance and made it to the KHL team. One of the best players of his generation in terms of execution, he is great at both patterned offense and offense in transition.

Artyom Barabosha, defenseman (Krasnaya Armiya)

In the JHL: 135 games, 20 (5+15) points

Artyom Barabosha is far from the status of a prolific scorer even at the JHL level, but this does not change the fact that he does contribute to the success of his team. Right-handed defensemen with good size are always highly valued, especially if they are aggressive. That’s the Krasnaya Armiya player. Winning a puck battle against him is quite a task. In addition, Barabosha can throw a check or even fight if the situation requires it. At that, after two full seasons in the JHL, the defenseman started receiving callups to CSKA and Zvezda, and managed to score in each of the teams. He adheres to his style of play, and has what it takes to be a full-time men’s hockey player.