Alexander Mikhailishin, D
155th overall, 2004
Alexander Mikhailishin had a disappointing season, unable to crack Spartak’s line-up for the entire season. Prior to the start of the 2005-06 season, he was a strong candidate for Russia’s U20 squad at the U20 World Junior Championships in Vancouver, but he unfortunately suffered a concussion in mid-November, which, combined with his inability to make an impact on the Super League level, left him out of the lineup. He did manage to make Russia’s lineup with the squad that was sent to Canada for the ADT Russia-Canada Challenge and did impress with his size and physical play. Mikhailishin was one of the very few Russians able to take and deliver the physical play of the Canadian junior leagues.
The young defenseman was a project selection for the New Jersey and that is exactly what the club got. He has great size and work ethic, but will have to improve his mobility to continue his development. Mikhailishin will hopefully make Spartak’s lineup next season and continue his development at the Super League level.
Valeri Klimov, D
282nd overall, 2004
Valeri Klimov was a late-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He fits the trend of big Russian defensemen recently drafted by the Devils, including Uchevatov, Kadeykin, and Mikhailishin. However, unlike some of the others mentioned, Klimov stands out more with his overall play, though he does still need to improve his physical presence and skating. Like Mikhailishin, Klimov was left off the Russian national team roster during his last year of eligibility, and did not appear at the U20 World Junior Championships. However, he did manage to not only crack, but also earn a steady spot with Spartak throughout the 2005-06 season, including the playoffs. He had one goal and four penalty minutes in 23 games played to go along with a –5 plus/minus. His matured play is what made him a more attractive choice than Mikhailishin to Spartak’s management, as he was able to fill in the gaps and make few mistakes in his own end of the ice.
Klimov will continue to develop with Spartak next season, but like Mikhailishin, he will have to compete for a roster spot as an adult, not an U20 player (Russian Super League requires at least two 20-year-old or younger players on the roster in all the games). The young defenseman still has an upper hand over Mikhailishin for a roster spot, as he already has league experience and can deliver a more reliable performance. However, both of them will likely skate on the club’s third and fourth defensive pairings.
Anton Kadeykin, D
51st overall, 2002
Anton Kadeykin signed with Super League (Russia 1) club Lokomotiv during the offseason. He appears to have fully recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered during the beginning of the 2004-05 season and the subsequent surgery. The young defenseman started the 2005-06 season with Lokomotiv’s farm club, Lokomotiv 2, as one of the top call-up players. Head coach Vladimir Yurzinov liked to keep an extra line traveling with the team in case of injury and Kadeykin was part of that line. However, despite being often declared as part of the line-up of the big club, he did not skate a single game.
Fortunately, the impasse ended when halfway through the season he was loaned by Lokomotiv to the High League’s (Russia 2) club Dizel, which is located in the Russian city of Penza, and is often a conditioning destination for many players in the Lokomotiv system who are too good to play in the juniors, but haven’t yet earned a spot in the Super League. Kadeykin joined a young team and got the opportunity and ice time that helped get his development back on track. He played well and lived up to his defensive defenseman reputation with a solid plus/minus (+9). He had three assists and 68 penalty minutes in 26 games played. More importantly beyond the statistics, he performed well and continued to improve his skating, as well as his physical conditioning. The young blueliner helped the club advance surprisingly far in the High League playoffs, as the team was just recently eliminated in the semifinals by the veteran-filled Traktor Chelyabinsk club.
Kadeykin’s development appears to have returned back on track with a strong stint in the High League. He now needs to prove himself in the Super League or make an impression at NHL training camp this summer and earn an AHL spot in order to continue as an NHL prospect.
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