As usual, Russia will present a fair amount of talent at the next draft, but with the international transfer agreement still not settled, we might see a further reduction of the players drafted coming from this country.
Below is an alphabetic list of the top 10 talents out of Russia available for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Georgi Berdyukov, D
August 8th, 1991
Berdyukov is a relatively unknown prospect that not many – even in Russia – have heard of. A first liner on the ’91 national team, he plays a good two-way game and has good size. Gifted with a strong shot and above average skating, his good play at the last World Junior A Challenge and in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament hasn’t passed unobserved. More than one team would love to add to their organization such an attractive combination of size and skills in a defender. He’s yet to see any KHL action with his stacked SKA St. Petersburg.
Stanislav Bocharov, W
June 20th, 1991
Bocharov is yet another talented winger with crafty stickhandling and good skating produced by the Russian hockey system. He is currently playing for Ak Bars Kazan where he skated in only one regular season match, not giving the best impression. But his puck possession-based play gave him good time with the national team so far, especially in the Camrose tournament where he scored five goals in four matches. He has to build up some muscle and gain some balance in order to become effective in the more physical North American game.
Anton Burdasov, RW
May 9th, 1991
This big scorer can be another interesting player for the North American scouts as he has already an NHL body paired with some good skills. Burdasov has a good scoring touch. He keeps on getting very good statistics with the ’91’s, but despite of this Andrei Nazarov – one of the few KHL coaches that are giving room to the youngsters in this season – is yet to dress him with the main team. This might hurt his stock even if he’s going to represent Russia in the Under-18’s. He would have been called a hot prospect if not for the current tensions between Russian and North American hockey systems and if he was getting pro hockey ice time back at home.
March 30th, 1990
Surprisingly passed over in the last spring’s draft, Chernov’s stock rose because of his performances at the last WJC, where he scored three goals and two assists in seven games. He looked very good despite having missed a penalty shot in the shootout against the Canadians in the semi-finals. He was extremely solid also in the six games of the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Chernov is a gifted playmaker with good physical abilities that lately developed some nice scoring touch around the net. He is competent in the defensive game and feels the responsibility of this as he plays center. Good in the faceoff dots, he has to work a little bit on his skating and has all the tools to become an impact player. So far he’s not having ice time in his Atlant as he skated in only one regular season match.
Maxim Chudinov, D
March 25th, 1990
An aggressive, physically sound type of defenseman, Chudinov is another who wasn’t picked last spring. He’s well known to the North American audience because of the number of tournaments he played with the national team, often being among the youngest players on ice as he skated many times with Russia-88 and Russia-89. He is a hard-hitting defenseman with good offensive instincts, but he’s not an offensive blue liner even if he can move well the puck and shoot dangerously. A strong backwards skater, Chudinov has progressed a lot since his early days and now he can see relative consistent ice time with his KHL team Severstal Cherepovets. After his good play at the last WJC, where he posted five assists in seven matches, his stocked has raised and hopefully some team will call his name in the later rounds.
Sergei Chvanov, F
May 20, 1991
Chvanov is yet another interesting player who comes out from the Cherepovets hockey school after Maxim Trunev (MON) and the undrafted Maxim Chudinov. Chvanov had a very, very good performance at the Camrose’s World Junior A Challenge, where he scored five goals in four games. The captain of Team Russia for this tournament has a good two-way game and an exceptional ability in scoring and making his linemates score. A competent center, Chvanov is one of the players that NHL scouts surely have noted in the popular Canadian tournament and thus is expected to get a draft call, likely to be in the later rounds.
February 11th, 1991
If only a couple of years ago he was considered a future superstar, now Kuchin’s more a sort of enigma. After getting a lot of praise because of his strong play in American tournaments, he changed teams going from CSKA to the less ambitious Vityaz Chekhov as it seems he has some character problem, but this is a thing we often hear from Russian players and not always is a reliable account. What’s sure is that he has impressive skills and excellent skating and probably comparable – technique wise – to any other player who will get picked in the next draft’s first round, but there must be a reason if it has been talked so little about him in the last years. He can though explode later on and become an impact player, but first he has to show that he can play in big games.
Anton Lazarev, F
May 29th, 1990
Lazarev is one of the players who was really surprising to see passed over at the 2008 NHL draft. This was despite his very strong play at the WJC Under 18 and his good 2007-08 campaign with the current Atlant Mytischi. He clicks very well with linemate Pavel Chernov even if this year they aren’t playing together as the latter isn’t getting ice time under head coach Fedor Kanareikin. Lazarev is a technically sound player with a good nose for the net, with very good ability in creating scoring chances on his own carrying the puck through the zone or by skating in good positions. He’s kind of a one-dimensional player and this is probably the biggest reason that he hasn’t been selected in the draft. He also hasn’t represented Russia at the last WJC, but he remains an intriguing player with an above-average technique and very good skating.
Dmitri Orlov, D
July 27th, 1991
Orlov is an offensive defenseman with some good abilities in his own zone combined with good physical play despite his relative limited size, but he has still a lot to do before thinking about North America. Competent with the puck, he was the captain of the Russia-91 junior team and this is a good sign of leadership even if it’s only junior level. Thus far he’s having limited ice time with his KHL team, but he has proven that he can stay on ice at the highest level playing against men. Unfortunately a dangerous play by veteran Mika Hannula has put him out of action with a shoulder injury lately, and this has prevented him further development in the last few weeks. Currently he’s No. 1 Russian skater according to CSS rankings.
Semen Valuiski, W
February 10th, 1991
Valuiski is another player whose stock has been hurt by a couple of injuries in key moments, like the one he suffered this summer that prevented him from playing in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. The kid can surely play, and he has shown this recently in the KHL too as he scored his first pro goal on January 3 in a loss against Atlant, following an assist by Dmitri Vorobiev (TOR). He’s a quick skating, agile winger who can put the puck in the net and is expect to develop and be an important member in the forthcoming Under 18 WC to be played in the USA.
Daniil Alistratov, G
October 30th, 1990
Despite being his team’s No. 1 goaltender, Alistratov has failed the WJC test especially after allowing four goals in the first period of the game against team Sweden. The small but athletic goaltender was believed a sure bet for the future, but now he really has to rebound back after his bad performances with the national team.