This young player has consistently been the most talented and surprisingly productive young player in the Russian Super League. He beat the Super League rookie record and was U20 Team Russia’s top scorer should not be average just a point a game at the U18 World Junior Championships. The last two players who performed this well in the Super League and on the International arena were Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, and while Cherepanov undeniably has loads of talent, he is not in the same elite echelon as those forwards.
A fluid skated with an above average top speed, Cherepanov is a smart and technical player who has also proved an ability to learn quickly, adapting in just a few months to the rigors of the professional game in the Super League. He obviously did not accomplish this alone, and had some great teachers in his linemates Popov and Kuryanov, who are exceptional young hockey players in their own rights. As a result of skating with such experienced and productive players, significant pressure was relieved off Cherepanov, giving him a chance to develop and eventually blossom. This has helped Cherepanov immensely, since he is not by any stretch a big player and has not yet filled in his 5’11 frame. One concern about this young forward’s game is his consistency and ability to stay motivated.
In regards to his offensive skills, he does, however, remind a bit of Alexander Radulov and Washington Capitals prospect Ivan Nepriayev when he was at that age. Cherepanov’s consistency and lack of physical presence are a concern, though his upside is immense.
Cherepanov has another year on his contract with Omsk Avangard, and is not expected to become a Ranger for at least one more season. It remains to be seen whether he will forego the enticements of staying in Russia to come to North America to play in the NHL.