The well knowns, forgotten prospects, plus a potential hidden gem
Valeri Nichushkin – For some fantasy gm's he is the most disliked player (keeper league owners), and for others he is a hopeful add in the future. Nichushkin struggled to both stay in the lineup and stay healthy to start the season as there were rumblings earlier in the season that Nichushkin’s contract was to be terminated by his team in the KHL. The reasoning was said to be due to his early struggles to score and refuse to go down to the MHL to gain his confidence as the team thought he needed it. Things have now settled between him and CSKA, and he has been playing steadily since the end of September. Nichushkin currently has 12 points in 18 games sitting eighth on his team CSKA Moscow in points, but is second on the team with 0.67 points per game. He only tends to average about 14-16 minutes a game and currently is only shooting 2.05 shots per game. Needless to say he is likely not getting the minutes he expected and he is not dominating games like many of us expected.
Igor Shestyorkin – Enough cannot be said about his stellar campaign so far. He is tied for first in wins with 17 in 22 games (in six less games than Ilya Proskuryakov) and is the only goalie with one regulation loss in over 12 games played. For SKA Saint Petersburg, Shestyorkin is also riding a 0.949 save percentage, 1.32 goals against average, and of course his eight(!!!!) shutouts which lead the entire league. He is definitely the top goalie prospect not in North America and there could be an argument of him being the best goalie prospect outside of the NHL. His current contract hss him in the KHL until 2019-2020 but there is believed to be an out clause in his final year, and by then he should tire of dominating the KHL and would hopefully prefer to try the NHL.
Ilya Sorokin – Not far behind Shestyorkin in terms of goalie prospects is Sorokin, whose season is not being talked about enough because of how stellar Shetyorkin’s season has been so far. In 23 games for CSKA Moscow Sorokin has 14 wins, four regulation loses, a 0.937 save percentage, 1.38 goals against average, and three shutouts. Sorokin’s contract is up in the KHL in 2017-2018 and there is word he could stay for an extra season or two, but if he were to come over to North America he could become the Islanders starter in a season or two, he is that good.
Ilya Samsonov – Samsonov is playing a 65-35 style split with the starter for Metallurg Magnitogorsk Vasily Koshechkin. He has played in 13 of the 30 games played with seven wins, no regulation losses, and has come in relief to finish the others. Overall Samsonov currently has a 0.919 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. It is kind of crazy that Samsonov has not been given the starts role but Metallurg is one of the top teams in the KHL and is riding an older goalie, with strong numbers, instead of handing the crease over to a rookie. Samsonov’s contract is up in 2017-2018 where he has indicated he will come over to North America, so hopefully he is given a starters role in his final two seasons to give him more experience before he comes over.
Nikita Gusev – The Tampa Bay 2012 seventh rounder is currently third in the KHL with 40 points in 29 games, three points back of the lead and teammate Ilya Kovalchuk. Gusev has been over a point per game clip ever since being traded to SKA Saint Petersburg in the 2015-2016 season, and before then was just putting up modest totals for a much weaker team. His current KHL contract has him locked up until 2017-2018 and he does have interest in coming to play in North America with close friend Nikita Kucherov once the contract is up. If you can handle stashing him and continue to wait on him coming over, he will pay off on a loaded Tampa team.
Anatoli Golyshev – Golyshev is an older prospect who the New York Islanders took in the fourth round of the 2016 draft as he had been passed over at least once in previous drafts. He had played mainly in the KHL since the 2013-2014 season where he would have broken into the league at 18. From 2013 to 2015 he only registered 24 points in 76 games as he had to fight for playing time and opportunity. Then in 2015-2016 Golyshev broke out registering 44 points in 56 games for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. This season he was awarded an “A” with his team, but his stats have not progressed and he was even sent down to the VHL for four games. Currently he has only 10 points in 28 games as nothing is appearing to go in for him, noticable by his 75 shots in those games. I do not know what really to expect from him as his 2015-2016 season could have just been a blip but he is worth monitoring.
Kirill Kaprisov – At just 19 the 2015 fifth round pick by Minnesota is a player that should be on all fantasy GM’s radar. He is currently 18th in points overall in the KHL with 24 points in 28 games, and sits third on his team in points. He has been extreme dynamic in his play so far and has shown a nasty side with 62 total penalty minutes. Currently he has the second best point per game rate ever of an under-20 player in the KHL ahead of notable Russian players Vladimir Tarasenko, Evgeni Kuznetsov, Pavel Buchnevich, and Artemi Panarin. If this kid is available add him as a risk/reward type prospect.
Nikita Filatov – Just a check in on a past darling prospect at least someone in your fantasy pool coveted, I was one of them as I rejected trade after trade for him. Last season was an unmitigated disaster for the Russian as he did not score a goal all year, which was 26 total games. This season so far he has 21 points in 30 games which is astronomically better. Perhaps he has finally begun to put it all together as he is 26 and more mature. This off-season he talked about wanting to come back to the NHL but nothing came of it. There could be potential for him to come back to the NHL after this season as long as he continues to produce in the KHL.
Next time I will focus on some 2017 picks.
Thanks for reading. If there are any KHL players you would like me to look at post them in the comments below or tweet me on the cyber: @FHPQuinn