Here are some quick hits on the top NHL prospects currently playing in the KHL: how they’re producing, when their contracts expire, when they might hit the NHL, and which players their career trajectories resemble at this point. This month, forwards will be highlighted.
Besides Matvei Michkov (2023 eligible), there don’t appear to be any Kaprizov-level NHL prospects in the KHL right now. The players profiled below are all incredibly talented, of course, but everyone in the NHL is incredibly talented; none of the prospects in this article have a strong chance of becoming stars at the highest level (+0.7 career points per game for forwards; +0.45 for defencemen).
That being said, players don’t need to qualify as stars to help out your fantasy squad.
Take in the comparables and wait times and in most cases, temper expectations—but if other managers in your league get caught up in the inevitable hype machine when one of these guys crosses the pond, take that opportunity and sell high if the deal’s right.
Marat Khusnutdinov, SKA St. Petersburg
In the lead-up to the 2022 WJC, Khusnutdinov signed a two-year extension with SKA that will keep him in Russia until the end of 2023-24. He was then made captain of Team Russia for the (prematurely cancelled) World Juniors.
An interesting thread on all of this from The Athletic’s Michael Russo:
The KHL is used to losing talented young players to the North American circuit and as a result there are many stories like Khusnidinov’s. One can understand the Russian’s frustrations, but they also receive a steady flow of players back from the NHL. It’s not clear how threatening demotion and cutting ice time supports rather than hinders the development of top prospects.
There is a perception, too, that Russian prospects playing in North American junior leagues, like Yan Kuznetsov, Daniil Chayka, and Matvei Petrov, were snubbed from the WJC. Coach Sergei Zubov explained the decision by stating that “the players who have been training with us here in Russia are stronger defensively. The strongest players have been picked.” Defensive responsibility is a valid