Russia’s second round at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft

By Eugene Belashchenko

ROUND 2: All offense, but not defense from the
Russian contingent.

The second round of the 2003 Entry Draft saw five more
players from the former Soviet Union being selected by NHL clubs. 
Interestingly, all seven players selected in the first two rounds of the draft were
forwards, with Russia’s top eligible defensemen being kept off the
draft sheets. 

 

As the first round wrapped up and the last name
was being called, Konstantin Glazachev shrugged, and smiled.  Not eating all
morning, he couldn’t handle it any more and we made our


Konstantin Glazachev at the post-selection interview. (Photo By:
Yevgeniy (Eugene) Belashchenko

 way up to
the concession stands.  Glazachev, Naurov and Shafigullin got their
slices and were munching outside when their agent came running out:
“Kostya, you’ve been picked. Let’s go!” Glazachev rushed back down
to the stands and made his way to the Nashville Predators
table.   In the media room the young man
remained a true diplomat, smiling and happily answering all the
questions, as if he did not get drafted more then 15 spots below
expectations, and outside of the much coveted first round.  To the
questions regarding being drafted lower in the order then expected,
Konstantin responded with a great answer, appeasing the local fans
and management. “I am very pleased to be drafted by Nashville, and
that is why I am not sad at being drafted 35th overall,
despite my agent’s expectations that I would go no later then the 22nd
pick.”  For Nashville, this young player may have been quite a steal
in the second round.   Despite some questionable publicity he has
received recently regarding his physical shape and diving during
play, Konstantin Glazachev remains one of the best ’85 born forwards
available in this year’s draft.  He is a goal scorer, but is also
very creative with the puck, able to create great scoring chances
for his linemates.  Skating has been the main knock on the talented
winger, but it is an area where he still has time to improve. 

 

The next pick from the former Soviet Union,
Konstantin Pushkarev
,
caused some rumblings ever since his performance at the U18 World
Junior Championships.  Very little was known
about the young sniper, as he spent most of the season playing
for the junior team of a remote Upper League club in Ust
Kamenogorsk. 



Konstantin Pushkarev
after being picked by the Los Angeles Kings 44th overall. (Photo
By: Yevgeniy (Eugene) Belashchenko

Pushkarev did peak the
interest of several NHL clubs, which then fell in love with the
youngster after the pre-draft interviews.  During those
interviews, the young man displayed confidence, without sounding
abrasive or cocky.  Reportedly, when a Kings
official asked Pushkarev, as to why the NHL club should pick him,
his response was: “I would much rather play for this great NHL club
then against it.”  The other two teams that actively pursued
the right winger were Phoenix and Detroit. Phoenix was in the
unfortunate situation of picking for the first time in the draft
only in the third round.  Wayne Gretzky himself acknowledged
after the draft that Phoenix liked Pushkarev so much, they tried,
unsuccessfully, to trade their three top picks for a late first
round selection to pick the talented forward.  Detroit was
reportedly prepared to pick Pushkarev with their first pick, 64th
overall, but the Kings snatched him with their 44th
overall pick in the second round.  The young forward has
the skill, the attitude and the head on his shoulders to develop
into the NHLer.  His body is a bit behind, as he is 6’0, but
weighs around 170 pounds, clearly needing to bulk up.  Now
signed by Avangard Omsk in Russia, Pushkarev will receive the
coaching attention and nutrition necessary to continue his
development.  

 

The Russian contingent needed to wait just three
more picks until the New York Islanders representative called
Dmitri Chernykh’s name.  Chernykh, who rose through
the CSB rankings to almost the very top, was clearly disappointed to
be selected so low in the draft.  However, as it is often the
case, talented players ranked highly by scouting agencies are not
guarantied to hear their name in the first round.  A speedy
winger with great skill and good size, Chernykh delivered a solid
season prior to the draft.  The son of a former Russian Elite
league veteran also surprised some reporters by responding to their
questions in good English, without the need for a translator. 
However, his attitude regarding being selected late in the



Yevgeniy Tunik (left) and Dmitri Chernykh
(right) after the post-selection interview (Photo By: Eugene (Yevgeniy)
Belashchenko.

draft was all over his face and clearly audible in
his responses to the media.  Attitude and heightened
expectations may be the main issue with this prospect. 
Reportedly, the young winger left Khimik Voskresenk, the club that
raised him and where his father played during his best years,
stating that he has outgrown the organization and wanted to move on. 
Chernykh signed with CSKA Moscow and will now compete under the
tutelage of the legendary Viktor Tikhonov.   It is
unlikely that the iron handed Russian coach will tolerate any
insubordination, so, despite the way it was carried out, the young
wingers transfer from Khimik to CSKA may have been just what the
doctor ordered. 

 

After selecting Chernykh, the New York
Islanders used another second round pick to select Russian
forward, Yevgeniy Tunik.  A hulking forward with great
hands, Tunik was very pleased to be selected in the second round and
by the same club as Chernykh. The two forwards signed with CSKA and
will be playing together with the Super League club next season.  
Elektrostal’s best sniper this past season, the ’84 born Tunik
certainly made up for being too old to compete on Russia’s U18 squad
by putting up many goals in Russia’s Upper League.  He also
performed quite well at the first warm up tournament of Russia’s
2004 U20 squad in St. Petersburg, where he was tournament’s top
sniper.

 

As the second round was winding down, Igor
Mirnov’s
name was still conspicuously missing from the board. 
The young right winger was projected to be drafted late in the first
or early in the second round for most of the season, but towards the
end of the second round a club was yet to call his name.  
The young forward did not attend the draft and hence did



Igor Mirnov after a practice with Russia’s
’84 squad during 2001-02 season (Photo By: RussianProspects.com
exclusive).

not undergo interviews with NHL clubs,
which likely degraded his stock.  Finally, the Ottawa
Senators
selected Mirnov with their 67th overall pick late in the
second round.   As with Kaigorodov last year, the Senators
used a modest pick to acquire a talented Russian with great
potential, who was projected to go in the first round. 
Granted, Mirnov will not likely be an impact player of Kaigorodov’s
caliber, but his overall skill level and booming shot are definitely
of NHL caliber.   

Player Capsules

 

Konstantin Glazachev

2nd Round: 35th Overall

NHL Club: Nashville Predators

HF Outlook: Glazachev will return to
Russia and continue skating in Lokomotiv’s main lineup.  While
he successfully inserted himself into Lokomotiv’s roster last
season, things can change and the young forward needs to prove this
season that he belongs at the Super League level.  
Nashville should let Glazachev develop in Russia for at least
another couple seasons.  While he already has a solid
foundation, he still has ways to grow mentally and physically. 

 

Konstantin Pushkarev

2nd Round: 44th Overall

NHL Club:  Los Angeles Kings

HF Outlook: Pushkarev signed with Avangard
Omsk and will skate for the club this coming season.  He stands
a good chance of sticking in the lineup, because the Super League
club’s new coach, Sergei Gersonskiy, started coaching in Ust
Kamenogorsk, Pushkarev’s hockey school and home town.  

 

Dmitri Chernykh

2nd Round 48th Overall

NHL Club: New York Islanders

HF Outlook: Chernykh has performed very
well last year in his limited, third line role with Khimik
Voskresensk.  D
uring the off-season he has joined CSKA Moscow.
He will not likely have a high profile role with the club, but
should earn a spot on the third or fourth line, depending where he
fits in.   Right now the young forward has a lot to prove
and may make a smooth transition to the Super League or may
experience growing pains.

 

Yevgeniy Tunik

2nd Round 53rd Overall

NHL Club: New York Islanders

HF Outlook: Last season Yevgeniy Tunik was
too good to play in the Upper League, but failed to stick with two
different Super League clubs.  This coming season he will
rejoin CSKA Moscow for his second attempt with the club, and his
return signifies that he made a positive impression the first time
around. 

 

Igor Mirnov

2nd Round 67th Overall

NHL Club: Ottawa Senators

HF Outlook: Mirnov has spend his whole
career in Dynamo Moscow’s uniform and just completed his first full
season with the big club.  He will remain with Dynamo this
coming season and his role will likely remain on the club’s third
line, though that line may see more ice time.   

 

Yevgeniy (Eugene)
Belashchenko


http://www.hockeysfuture.com


http://www.russianprospects.com