It was an eventful two weeks in Russia. As you might have heard, Evgeni Dadonov didn’t wait too long to say that he doesn’t like the AHL and he made some loud declarations. On the other hand it looks like Alexander Avtsin is more than likely to do the opposite trip and come over to North Americap, and that’s certainly a good news for all the folks who support Les Canadiens.
But this week I want to get back to the upcoming 2010 NHL Entry draft and I want to talk about a player who has first round skills and might get picked not too low, Maxim Kitsyn from Novokuznetsk. A late ’91 birth, until a couple of years ago Kitsyn was supposed to be a contender for the #1 pick at the 2010 selections, but things changed a bit. Not that he doesn’t have the talent, but the Russian factor will play his role and frankly there are better players, even from Russia, like Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and so on.
But he remains a good talent. Here’s an example. Unfortunately I haven’t found a better quality clip for the ones who don’t get to see the KHL much, but here you go:
The opposing team in that video isn’t Metallurg Magnitogorsk, but Severstal Cherepovets (Yuri Alexandrov and Viktor Tikhonov’s team), and the player who he undresses before scoring is former St. Louis prospect Nikolay Lemtyugov.
Anyway, in this clip you can see Kitsyn’s main features, excellent skating, soft hands, some fancy plays, and a good scoring touch. But this is just a sampling of what he can bring to the table. At 6’2”, 190 he has good size, and he knows how to use it to his own advantage in the slot. He can score not only highlight reel goals like the one showed in the clip, but he can also get his nose dirty and put the biscuit in the basket on a rebound opportunity.
Because of this combination of skills and size he has all the tools to become a very valuable player in the years to come. Unfortunately in the recent years the infamous “Russian factor” caused many players to fall down in the draft, but that doesn’t mean that players will have less success because of that. But one can see a reason why Kitsyn might fall, after all he doesn’t seem as interested as other country mates in crossing the pound (like 2010 eligible Kirill Kabanov and Kuznetsov, for example) and that won’t help him. But he has been invited at the 2010 NHL Draft combine (with Kuznetsov and Tarasenko) and this might be good for him so to show that he really wants to play there. He’s not ready yet to play in the KHL, thus he is at least a couple of seasons away from the NHL.
Nikolai Zherdev is getting close to America as his contract with Atlant Mytischi is now over and he is a RFA. But where will he sign? That’s a good question.
Slovak forward Tomas Tatar declared to Russian press that he wouldn’t be against a move to the KHL. Press speculation? Most likely, but you never know.
Former Stanley Cup champion Sandis Ozolinsh signed a new 1-yr deal with Dinamo Riga of the KHL.