So, you want to keep tabs on your favourite Russian prospects but don’t speak Russian or enjoy watching hockey at six in the morning? You’re in the right place! Welcome to my monthly series where I break down the recent performance and track the development of top prospects playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia’s top men’s league. New updates will be posted on the third Wednesday of each month. Hit me up on Twitter at @beegare if you have a burning question or particular player you want me to focus on. I’d love to hear from you!
This month, I’ve selected seven promising young players to highlight from around the league—six of whom have been drafted already while the seventh has become a household name as a 16 year old.
Dmitri Rashevsky, RW — Winnipeg Jets
Any KHL prospect article right now needs to begin with Rashevsky. Sure, he was an over-aged 5th round pick by the Jets in last year’s NHL draft who was passed over in two previous drafts, but get him on your radar and keep him there. His excellence is becoming less and less of a secret. If hasn’t been snapped up yet in your league, he will be soon.
He’s already been named the KHL’s “Best Rookie” for both September and October, and at the time of writing is 15th in league scoring (4th in goals) as a 21-year old with 24 points in 26 games played (0.92 points per game). To put that in context, if he can keep up this scoring pace for the rest of the season, he’ll have turned in the best season by a player his age or younger in KHL history, narrowly beating out a 21-year old Kirill Kaprizov who scored 51 points in 57 games played. The only other comparables at this point are Kaprizov at 22 years old and Artemi Panarin at 23—both of whom finished above a point per game.
Even if he fades somewhat down the stretch, Rashevsky is clearly a burgeoning force who could add speed and dynamism to Winnipeg’s already lethal forward corps in 2-3 years. He signed an extension with Dynamo Moscow that will keep him overseas until the end of the 2022-23 season. After that, the hope is that he will cross over to play with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL—a path that Rashevsky has already expressed willingness to follow.
Check out his speed here, which he uses to create separation from the defender before firing a hard wrister top shelf:
Goal scoring may be Rashevsky’s forte, but he also possesses strong spatial awareness and playmaking skills that allow him to make deceptive cross-seam passes against the grain like this one: