Prospect Ramblings: Gleb Trikozov vs. Ivan Miroshnichenko — Toolkit vs. Tools

Hadi Kalakeche

2021-12-28

Welcome to my ramblings, where I’ll be writing down my thoughts on NHL and draft-eligible prospects once a week. I’ll be using the ramblings to keep you posted on the week’s events, or let you in on some questions I ask myself often regarding prospects, amateur scouting and player development.

First, I want to wish you all a happy holiday season, and hope that you’re safe and healthy amid rising cases worldwide. It’s been a busy week for men’s junior hockey (exclusively), and there are prospects doing their thing probably as you’re reading this, but I wanted to take a step back from WJC coverage and discuss two Russian draft-eligibles who aren’t playing in the tournament at the moment. These two prospects play on the same team, but you’ve likely only heard one of them mentioned in top-10 conversations: Ivan Miroshnichenko.

He’s been showing up in the top-10 of many a board, and was initially touted as a top-3 talent, but has started a downwards trend due to sub-par showings in the VHL for Omskie Krylia, scoring 11 points in 25 games so far using his tools — skating, stickhandling, shooting and size — without putting it all together in the form of a toolkit that’ll help him adapt on the fly (more on that later).

On the other hand,  there’s Gleb Trikozov. One of the youngest prospects in this draft class as an August birthday, Trikozov managed to score 14 points in 15 MHL games and has had a slight glance at some VHL action, with two points in 11 games playing minimal ice-time. Although it seems that Miroshnichenko has the edge when looking at the stats sheet, the overall game that Gleb has shown to this point makes me think that he’s a better pick than Miro. I’ll outline the main differentiating factor between the two using my favorite hockey allegory, which fits perfectly here: Toolkit vs. Tools.

Miroshnichenko: The Tools

There aren’t many individual elements in Miroshnichenko’s game that need work; his shot is already well-refined, his skating is sound and powerful, he can battle for loose pucks, distribute them efficiently in simple situations, and can throw in deception to hit the lane he wants to. In terms of his tools, there isn’t much to criticize.

One thing he won’t struggle to do, at any level, is score goals. His tremendous shot and his off-puck positioning are good enough to project him as a 20- or even 30-goal scorer at any level if he reaches his ceiling. Goal-scoring won’t be an issue.

The issue is his execution, and his intentions. What Miro struggles with the most is anticipating space and open teammates by thinking two or three passes ahead. He doesn’t seem to have the forward planning required to delay his options and play give-and-go hockey, which is the telltale sign of a lack of hockey sense. He makes rash decisions at times, rushing shots or passes instead of manipulating with patience and puck protection to find a better option. This is the Achilles’ heel of countless skilled prospects who play a high-octane offensive game, and what results is a player who is able to capitalize at his current level, but will almost always struggle to rack up points in the NHL outside of the power-play