Playoff outcome and an end of season wrap up
CSKA won the championship over Avangard 4-0 in the final, as the only team to really give CSKA problems was the seven game series win over SKA in the Western final, which is really to be expected as those two teams are the top two in the KHL. Avangard tore through the East only losing three games as it goes to show you the KHL is kind of like the NBA with stacked teams versus average to weak teams.
Mikhail Grigorenko (Colorado should still have his rights), signed in KHL until 2019-2020, lead the playoffs in scoring with 21 points in 20 games as he was the driving force behind CSKA, along with Kirill Kaprizov (MIN) who had 14 points in 19 games, as he could not score goals like he could in the regular season. Grigorenko also finished the regular season with 52 points in 55 games as he really broke out this year for CSKA, and he is a prime example of why not to rush prospects. I hope this good boy comes back to the NHL and it would be smart of the Wild to try to acquire his rights. Kaprizov lead the KHL in goals with 30, and managed 51 points in 57 games, as Wild fans continue to try to woo him via twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For his skills though, KK really should be destroying the KHL but perhaps he is too complacent in his play. All people who love hockey want him to play in the NHL and at least all we have left is one season.
Teemu Hartikainen (UFA) the ex-Oiler who also was not given a chance (big surprise) tied for the lead in scoring with 21 points in 17 games for Salavat Yulaev.
Nikita Gusev (VGK) had 19 points in 18 playoff games as SKA were eliminated by the eventual champions. In the regular season Gusev lead the league with 82 points in 62 games, registering 65 assists. It was sure great of a top NHL coach named Gallant to not use him for the Golden Knights in the playoffs when Vegas played the Sharks and he was available for the past couple games.
Nail Yakupov (STL), who is the prime example of how to mismanage a player – first by the Oilers then by Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis. He is signed in the KHL until 2019-2020 and hopefully he can still carve out an NHL career. For SKA he posted 33 points in 47 games, registering 23 goals, but managed just eight points in 18 playoff games as he cooled down to finish the year.
Ilya Sorokin (NYI) just toys with the KHL, it is insane. He posted a 0.947 save percentage in the playoffs as he lead CSKA to the championship, and in the regular season his save percentage was 0.943. Sorokin had five shut outs in the playoffs and 16 in the regular season. One year left Islanders fans, but Lehner may be blocking the starters path when he comes over.
For the New York Rangers fans that read this:
Igor Shestyorkin again had to split starts in the regular season and playoffs with ex-Rangers prospect Magnus Hellberg. He had a save percentage of 0.942 and a measly 10 shut outs in the regular season, but was not his usual spectacular self in the playoffs as he had a 0.904 sv% and no shutouts in 10 games. He signed a two year ELC for the Rangers as he is the team’s future starter.
Yegor Rykov who was a bizarre scratch for HK Sochi at times in the playoffs and regular season is a great two-way defenseman who signed a two-year ELC deal with NYR with a KHL out clause for the second season. Hopefully the coach will use him properly as he can be a second and third pairing defenseman for the Rangers.
Vitali Kravtsov is the prized forward for the Rangers, until they draft Kaapo Kakko (who I routinely spell Kappo Kaako) is coming to join the Rangers rank, as he signed his three year ELC and is ready to become a top forward. For Traktor he registered 21 points in 50 games, and managed just two assists in the four game sweep for Traktor. He should be an immediate top six impact but the Rangers’ RW may get mighty full with Kakko and Buchnievich there as well.
I hope to be more focused on the KHL next season than I was this season as I let the last two months vanish with my schedule.
Thanks for reading. Follow my twitter: @FHPQuinn