2015 NHL Draft: No clear favorite among Russian prospects at mid-season

By Alessandro Seren Rosso
Alexander Dergachev - Team Russia

Photo: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg forward and 2015 prospect Alexander Dergachev is playing for Russia at the 2015 World Junior Championship, where he has produced one goal in four games so far (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

 

The 2014 NHL Draft saw 13 Russian players’ names called, an increase from the low results of the eight players selected in 2013, with this increase mostly attributed to the bigger flow of players in the Canadian Major Junior leagues.

 

In 2015, the trend will most likely be the same as there are still many good players in Russia who can be considered worthy of being drafted, as was the case last year for Vladislav Kamenev (NSH) or overaged players Nikita Tryamkin (VAN) or Alexander Kadeykin (DET). Overage players will not be featured in this article, however, as the focus will instead be on the true, 2015-eligible players.

 

Alexander Dergachev, C, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg

6’4”, 201 lbs.

 

The late-’96 player is gifted with good size and soft hands and showed a good game at the recent Subway Super Series. While he didn’t play on Russia’s top lines in that series, Dergachev was nevertheless noticeable due to his size and poise. The native of Langepas, Russia, is having a good season in the MHL with one of the league’s top clubs and is producing at a point-per-game pace. Dergachev is currently playing for Team Russia at the 2015 World Junior Championship where he has netted one goal in four games so far. Some NHL teams may have Dergachev on their list thanks to his combination of size and mobility, but his offensive potential is probably limited, making it unlikely that he’ll be chosen in the early rounds of the draft.

 

Denis Guryanov, W, Lada Togliatti

6’2”, 183 lbs.

 

Guryanov is a smooth-handed goal-scorer with a good shot and very good skating ability. He is a very fast and quick player who can make things happen with his speed and create scoring chances with the puck on the blade of his stick, but who needs to bulk up and play a more physical style. He is having a very good season in the MHL with 15 goals in 22 games, so he may get another call-up to the KHL later in the season. Guryanov is a very intriguing prospect, even if he isn’t a bulky player.

 

Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Metallurg Novokuznetsk

5’10”, 181 lbs.

 

One of the few players on this list with pro experience, Kaprizov was the first overall pick in the 2014 KHL Draft and is having a good rookie season in Novokuznetsk, even if his stats aren’t very impressive at one goal and four points in 18 games played. He is a fast player with a great scoring touch who can find the net from any position on the ice. Kaprizov must learn to use his body more and to play a more resilient game if he wants to receive some serious consideration from North American teams.

 

Kirill Pilipenko, RW, HC MVD

5’10”, 194 lbs.

 

Pilipenko is a fast and agile winger with a great nose for the net who gives his best on open ice. A natural goal scorer, Pilipenko showcased his instincts at the 2014 U18 World Championship, where he scored five goals in as many games played. He also was one of the best Team Russia players at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge, where he scored four goals and eight points in five contests. Pilipenko is a technically sound player with a good shot who can score in any situation. Pilipenko is a very interesting prospect in spite of his smaller size. One item of concern, however, is the high number of injuries he has suffered in the last couple of seasons.

 

Alexei Platonov, D, Atlanty Mytischi

6’5”, 203 lbs.

 

One of the biggest Russian prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft, Platonov is a defense-first player who can use his size to his advantage in the defensive zone. He has very good mobility, especially for a player of his size. Platonov could be a very interesting name for the 2015 draft since NHL teams will give much value to his large body and skating ability. He has some offensive skills, but needs to use them more often in his game.

 

Maxim Tretiak, G, CSKA-Krasnaya Armiya

6’3”, 229 lbs.

 

One of the few players who may get drafted based on his family name alone, Tretiak is a late-’96 goalie with excellent size and a very athletic frame, but limited experience. He is the grandson of the legendary Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak, who now heads the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Last year, Tretiak backstopped Team Russia to a silver medal at the World Junior A Challenge, where it is likely many NHL scouts had a good chance to note his best attributes. Tretiak is an agile goaltender who still has a lot to learn. With his intriguing size, though, some NHL team may be tempted to spend a lower round pick on him.

 

Honorable mentions

 

Semyon Afonasievsky, W, Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk

Evgeny Nazarkin, D, Belye Medvedi Chelyabinsk

Ilya Samsonov, G, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk

Dmitry Zhukenov, C, Omskie Yastreby Omsk

 

Follow Alessandro Seren Rosso on Twitter via @AlexSerenRosso