February KHL Update

Pat Quinn



VHL and MHL in relation to the KHL

When looking into the KHL there are other two Russian leagues that work along with it. In this post I will run through of them and highlight their top scorers, as when looking at a prospects production overseas I always saw points in these three leagues in one year for a player.





Translated to also be known as the Major Hockey League, or Higher Hockey League, the VHL (founded in 2010) is considered to be a step down talentwise from the KHL, housing 26 teams in the league, but is not considered a farm team to the KHL. The confusing part is that the two leagues do work together and transfer players between them, calling them up or down. On each VHL team’s roster only a maximum of seven players over the age of 29 are allowed. There are rumours the league could soon become a farm league of the KHL but I cannot confirm that. Many of the top scorers in the VHL are not really on any prospect radar so I will not dive much into them.


VHL top five scorers

Artyom Gordeyev (28 years – F)

In 47 games played for Toros Neftekamsk, Gordeyev has 42 points to lead the league in scoring but cannot seem to stick long term in the KHL.

Stanislav Golovanov (33 years – F)

In 46 games played for the same team above (the team has three players in the top five), Golovanov is a playmaker with 42 points as he has pretty much been a career VHLer.

Anatoli Rayenko (30 years – F)

The forward for Molot-Prikamie Perm has 38 points in 47 games, and has played a majority of his career in the VHL and Russia2/3 leagues.

Igor Cherkasov (25 years – F)

The youngest player in the top five scorers has 37 points in 40 games for Yuzhny Ural Orsk, and has never gotten a crack at the KHL as of yet.

Artur Sarvarov (31 years – F)

Sarvarov has 35 points for Sarayarka Karaganda in 45 games played.





The Minor or Youth Hockey League was founded in 2009, consists of 39 teams from 7 countries, and a are used as minor league teams for their respective KHL teams and can be minor league teams for other professional leagues like the VHL, BEL, and PHL. Some teams do not even have an affiliated team but are in the league anyway. The fact that the MHL can be an affiliate for the KHL and VHL, while some teams in the VHL can also be affiliates for KHL teams, makes the whole set up confusing when trying to track league affiliations. In the MHL players cannot be 21 and older, and once they are too old for the MHL they must go to one of the other leagues. Highlighted below are the top five point leaders in the MHL, and may be on some NHL radars but it will be tough as none are over six feet tall.


MHL top five scorers

Artyom Manukyan (18 years – F)

Playing for Omskie Yastreby, Manukyan is the youngest player in the top five and leads the league in scoring by 12 points. He has 96 points, 36 of those goals with 60 assists, in only 52 games played. He will be 19 in June and could potentially be a top player for Russia in the upcoming World Junior Championship. Now you (the reader) may be wondering why you have not heard of Maukyan, at least I was, but then I read why. Manukyan is 5’7 and only 139 pounds, making him a very small player. Now he does have the skill, speed, IQ, and elusiveness that NHL teams covet, but he also has the size that many shy away from (and the birth country). If he were to gain some mass to his frame it would be wise of an NHL team to take a chance on this player late in the 2017 draft. He has set the record for point seasons in the MHL with 96, the previous being 94, so there is a ton of skill there. The points separating third place in scoring from 31st are 19 points, now the points separating Manukyan from third place is 37 TOTAL POINTS, if this kid could grow he could be very sought after asset.


Anton Kovalyov (19 years – F)

Kovalyov also plays for Omskie Yastreby and is riding shotgun to Manukyan’s hot play. While being no slouch of his own in the skill department, he has 84 points in 48 games, with 39 of those being goals. He has surprisingly never played in any international tournaments despite putting up have a 0.99 point per game average in the MHL. Kovalyov is 5’10 and about 170 pounds, so there is room to grow, but since he is 25 points away from the next highest point producer, he should be getting looks from NHL squads. What seems more likely however is that he plays in the KHL next season and within a few seasons you may hear hi