First of all thanks to all the ones who showed up during the NHL Draft live chat powered by DobberHockey, it was truly a great experience.
But what to say about the draft? Well, the first round went very well, from a Russian point of view, with three players drafted, Alexander Burmistrov (Atlanta Thrashers), Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis Blues) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals).
And regarding Tarasenko, well, the Senators had him in their hands, but decided to trade the pick to get prospect and former first round pick David Rundblad. Ninety-five percent of chat visitors said that the Sens would have gotten more with Tarasenko and I agree with them.
I was expecting more selected Russian in the draft’s Day 2. It was no surprise to see Kiril Kabanov dropping to the second day (even if I thought that some team would risk a first on him), but some players who didn’t get a call were a bit surprising. Andrei Kuchin, Nikita Zaitsev and Alexei Marchenko are the three players that surprised me the most. Kuchin had an excellent season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL, but probably teams didn’t trust him enough to draft him as a 20-year-old.
Alexei Marchenko paid the fact that he missed the U18s. I don’t really know why Zaitsev wasn’t picked up, he even declared that Chicago and Philadelphia were interested in him. Browsing the draft lists of the two teams, I don’t see many players better than him, especially with the Flyers, they signed Ricard Blidstrand from Sweden during the seventh round which I don’t really think is better than Zaitsev, but probably the overblown “Russian Factor” played a role here too, and also the fact that Blidstrand might join the WHL next year.
Of course from a Russian POV the winners are the Thrashers (Burmistrov and Telegin) and Washington (Kuznetsov and Galiev). They not only got four good players, but they also obtained four players who are driven to playing in the NHL. Three of them are in America already. And the Russian factor shouldn’t affect fantasy GMs too much regarding Kuznetsov and Tarasenko. In spite of their KHL commitment, most likely they’ll cross the pond in summer 2011 and if you have a keeper league it would be a bad move not to get them just because you are scared of their passport.
Kitsyn is a player who might cause some concern and he fallen down to the 6th round. His biggest problem is his (un)consistency, but also the fact that he didn’t impress at the U18s and U20s didn’t help too. He was picked up during the CHL Import Draft (Mississauga St. Michael Majors), but it’s not clear if he’ll report or not.
Maxim Chudinov, Boston's pick in the seventh round, has just signed a 2-yr deal with his KHL team, Severstal Cherepovets, the same as Yuri Alexandrov. Did he have a hand in the Bruins picking him up? He’s a good prospect, a small sized defenseman with good reading of the ice and, despite his size, good physical play even if sometimes he goes over the edge. He has also a not bad shot, especially from close-to-mid range.