Welcome to the new KHL Report!
Seemingly against all odds, the 2020-21 KHL season is due to start on September 2nd. The 23 teams will play 60 games each, with the regular season running until February 27th. Playoffs will then commence on March 2nd and are scheduled to finish by April 30th.
In this article, we will look at some of the most intriguing NHL prospects playing in the KHL this season. The delayed start to the North American leagues has seen NHL teams loan some of their European prospects to KHL teams for the 2020-21 season, resulting in a slightly larger NHL prospect pool than normal. In no particular order, here are some of the players to watch this season.
Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (Vancouver Canucks)
Podkolzin is arguably the most interesting prospect in the KHL this year. The 19-year-old right winger will be hoping to play a key role for SKA this season, after only averaging 8:49 time on ice per game last year and spending some time in the VHL. He undoubtedly has the tools to succeed at the KHL level, combining good size (6-1, 192lbs) with a willingness to drive the net and play in the dirty areas. He is also a highly skilled forward who can create offense out of nothing. I will be keen to see how he produces with more regular ice time and another year of physical development.
Kirill Marchenko, LW, SKA St. Petersburg (Columbus Blue Jackets)
This could be the year that Marchenko, a 2nd round pick in 2018, announces his arrival as the top NHL prospect playing in Russia. He has all the attributes to be a dominant player at this level – 6-foot-3 and 187lbs, with elite skill and good speed to match. Like his teammate Podkolzin, he split last season between the KHL and VHL but expect him to spend the whole year in the KHL this time around. Marchenko and Podkolzin have been line mates in pre-season so far so SKA should be a fun team to watch this year.
Ivan Morozov, C, SKA St. Petersburg (Vegas Golden Knights)
Morozov is a two-way center who is versatile and well-rounded. He put up five goals and seven points in 16 games with SKA last season, showing that there is some offense to his game as well. An argument could be made that his offensive ability is underrated so it will be interesting to see if he can produce on a consistent basis this season. Whilst he is not the fastest player on the ice, he competes hard and has decent size (6-1, 196lbs) and should be a regular for SKA this season.
Pavel Dorofeyev, LW/RW, Traktor Chelyabinsk (Vegas Golden Knights)
Dorofeyev is an exciting offensive player who has displayed high-end puck skills and creativity. He moves to Traktor after two pro seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Last season he only averaged 9:29 minutes of ice time per game, so he will be hoping the move to Traktor will lead to a more prominent role. The biggest knock on Dorofeyev is that he tends to play on the perimeter too often, especially considering he’s not the smallest player (6-1, 174lbs). If Head Coach Anvar Gatiyatulin can get him to put it all together, Dorofeyev could easily become the next big NHL star coming out of Russia.
Artur Kayumov, LW, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (Chicago Blackhawks)
After a strong 2019-20 season, Kayumov will be hoping to keep the momentum going as he looks to become one of the leading pure goal scorers in the league. Last seas