Andrei Popov is the product of Chelyabnsk’s Traktor hockey school. He was also a member of Russian regional team Ural for 1988-born regional competitions. Popov was borrowed by several stronger hockey schools including Metallurg (Magnitogorsk), to compete in the latter stages of the junior league playoffs when Traktor was eliminated.
2003-04: Popov skated in six games for Traktor Chelyabiinsk's men's team in Russian second division play as a 15-year-old – scoring 3 goals with 4 PMs.
2004-05:Popov made his High League (Russia 2) debut, instantly making an impact with the club and earning significant playing time. In 17 games with Traktor he scored 7 goals with 1 assist and had 4 PMs.
2005-06: Popov played for the first and second teams in Chelyabinsk and represented Russia at the 2006 U18 World Junior Championship. In 42 games (including playoffs) with Traktor in the Russian High League he scored 10 goals with 8 assists and had 28 PMs. Popov scored 1 goal with 4 assists playing for Traktor in the third division. In six games for Russia's junior team he scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was +6. Popov was ranked 9th amongst European Skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings and was selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round (205th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft.
2006-07: Popov skated in 44 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk as the team returned to the Russian Super League for the first time since 1997-98. He scored 2 goals with 10 assists and had 36 PMs as Traktor finished 17th in the 19-team league. In two games with the Chelyabinsk second team he had 1 goal and 1 assist.
2007-08: Popov spent the season with Traktor Chelyabinsk (RUS), first playing in six games with Traktor 2 before moving up to the Russian Super League with Traktor's 14th-place club. He recorded 9 goals and 5 assists in 39 games between the two teams. Popov was scoreless with 4 PMs in two Super League playoff games.
2008-09: Popov skated in 54 games as a 20-year-old for Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia's re-named KHL. He saw limited ice-time as the club added several former NHLers including leading-scorer Andrei Nikolishin, Oleg Kvasha, and Pierre Dagenais. Popov finished with 4 goals and 5 assists and was -3 with 38 PMs. Traktor finished in 12th place and in three playoff games Popov was scoreless.
2009-10: Popov was the third-leading scorer for Traktor Chelyabinsk despite missing six games in his fourth season in Russia's top league. He scored 11 goals with 26 assists and was -4 with 24 PMs as Traktor finished fourth in the KHL's Kharlamov Division. He had 1 assist and was -2 with 2 PMs in four KHL playoff games.
2010-11: Popov was fourth in scoring in a Traktor lineup that featured several high profile prospects including Washington 2010 first-round pick Evgeny Kuznetsov (the team's leading scorer despite missing 12 games). Popov scored 10 goals with 12 assists and was -8 with 30 PMs as Chelyabinsk finished fifth in the six-team Kharlamov Division and missed the playoffs. Popov made his first national team appearance, skating in four matches during the European Hockey Challenge and had one assist. Popov signed a three-year contract with Traktor in June 2011.
2011-12: Popov continued to play for Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia's KHL — skating in all 54 games for the Kharlamov Division regular season champions. He scored 6 goals with 11 assists and was plus-11 with 38 penalty minutes in his sixth season with Traktor. Traktor reached the East Conference finals; falling to Avangard Omsk in five games. Popov scored 5 goals with 1 assist and was plus-five with 4 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games.
Scout: Possesses a very good vision of the ice…controls and protects the puck well…possesses a precise wrist shot… above average passer…needs to improve his skating – his acceleration and start speed...also needs to improve his skating technique… effectively uses his size to his advantage, can hit, but does not necessarily look for the physical contact…doesn’t stay away from traffic…has a very good work ethic… player, who can become a power forward similar to Keith Primeau…defensively, he is a winger, so doesn’t come back on defense as much, instead looking to go on the offensive…Traktor’s head coach Tsygurov taught him how to play better defensively this season in the High League (Russia 2).