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, we’ll provide you with an at-a-glance update on the top prospects playing in all three Russian leagues: the KHL (top-tier men’s league), VHL (second-tier men’s league), and MHL (top junior league). Then one prospect from each league will be highlighted in greater detail.
After being passed over in 2020, Nikita Guslistov was taken by the Canes last year in the seventh round. He’s not exactly a fantasy asset at this point, but he’s a hard-working volume shooter and above-average skater who consistently demonstrates solid hockey IQ. Guslistov is already beating the odds and returning incredible value for Carolina: he represented Russia at the prematurely cancelled World Juniors and currently has five points in his last five KHL games playing for Severstal Cherepovets. KHL teams are infamous in North American circles for curtailing the ice time of top young players but Guslistov is bucking the trend by averaging about 16 minutes a game this year, even almost hitting 19 in their last game against Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. That shows the coaching staff trust him as an all-situations player in their top six.
Hockey Prospecting gives Guslistov a 0% chance of becoming a star but a 33% of playing in 200+ NHL games. Because that model works on historical comparables (league, production, age, height/weight), the 0% predicted star potential isn’t surprising. That just means that no 5-9 170lbs Russian overagers selected in the 7th round have ever exceeded a 57-point pace over their NHL career. Yet.
Guslistov was just named KHL Forward of the Month for January and has the same point pace and PNHLe score as the m