Welcome to another KHL update. It is back and better than ever, or more of the same. You decide!
I am not going to cover the KHL playoffs until the next update, except a few highlights, and am going to focus on the regular season and how it finished.
First up current playoff news:
Isles goalie of the future Ilya Sorokin has currently taken the form of a human brick wall as he has five (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) shutouts in eight games, saving 164 of 164 shots for CSKA Moscow. That is Ludacris but take into account that it is the second best KHL team in a league where there are about eight good ones, and the other ~18 are average at best or awful.
The KHL’s U20 player record for points in the playoffs is split by both Evgeni Kuznetsov and Valeri Nichushkin with nine. 2018 draftee Vitaly Kravtsov currently has tied the record in eight games, and his team (Traktor) is currently down 2-1 to Salavat Yulaev, so he has plenty of more games to add to his total.
- I think will drop to be a late first round pick because NHL teams still seem hesitant on drafting Russian players who play in the KHL early as they are never sure if they will come over
Super Predators prospect Eeli Tolvanen has six points in nine games but his Jokerit team has to play against CSKA, so playing a goalie with a 0.976 save percentage will make it hard for Tolvanen to match the nine point record. Do not worry Preds fans his team is down 3-1 and it may mean he is in the NHL sooner than later.
Igor Shestyorkin has not had a sniff of playoff action in eight games, so pretty much the previous playoff season but worse as he at least got into a few games then.
Let me start with some top point producers whose KHL contracts are up this off season, AKA notable people you should take a flyer on in keeper leagues:
- Ilya Kovalchuck (UFA) – 63 points in 53 games
- Nigel Dawes (UFA) – 55 points in 44 games
- Linden Vey (right may still be owned by CGY or may be a UFA) – 52 points in 50 games (I would love Vey to come back, I feel he never got a proper NHL shot and hopefully his KHL totals can sway some teams)
- Alexander Khokhlachev (BOS) – 50 points in 52 games
This year as the KHL season wrapped up SKA did not dominate the top scoring categories, but instead just had two players finish first and second, those being Ilya Kovalchuck and Nikita Gusev. Gusev’s contract runs out in the 2018-2019 season, but it is a pretty good bet that he will not sign with Vegas when he comes over to the NHL. Well I guess I should change that to an IF with how Russians may be reluctant to come over with recent stories about the treatment of Russians from teams, most notably Vadim Shipachov, Nikita Tryamkin, and most recently Viktor Antipin whose comments make it sound like he will go back to the KHL after getting the weakest shot in Buffalo.
Imagine if the Bruins could sign Alexander Khokhlachev once his season completes like the Predators could sign Tolvanen. No idea what will happen there but I am intrigued if he does indeed come back as the Bruins are now very deep in the top nine, but another scoring skilled player who can play centre and wing, is not a bad problem to have.
Maxim Shalunov finished with 40 points in 46 games, but is also signed until the end of the 2019-2020 season, sorry Blackhawk fans.
I make it known that Kirill Kaprizov is my favorite prospect, and although he did not reach a point per game he did slightly improve on his points per game this season. The Wild have seemingly made it their mission to show KK they want to bring him over since his comments about how the Wild made no effort to meet him in explaining his KHL extension. Since then Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has flown out to meet him a couple times and the Wild drafted his close friend and CSKA teammate Andrei Svetlakov in the 2017 draft. I will again be ranking him extremely high on my top prospects not in the NHL yet list for the dobberprospects report later in the summer. Spoiler!
I feel I do not need to discuss Tolvanen further as he has been talked to death by now. Bottom line, no way he should have fallen that far in the 2017 draft and NHL GMs are silly.
Anatoli Golyshev the 2016 fourth round selection for the New York Islanders had a strong season with 31 points in 40 games for Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, putting last year’s brutal 17 points in 49 games far in the rear view mirror. He is signed for one more KHL season (2018-2019) and could be a player on the Island if he does decide to come over to the NHL. He is one to watch.
Everyone’s favorite prospect (unless you have games played limits) Val Nichushkin again had an average season with 27 points in 50 games. He really just seems to be a middle-six forward with limited upside, it is crazy how he does not have more points in the KHL.
The big three goalie prospects in the KHL regular season:
Ilya Sorokin – Playing in 37 games for CSKA Sorokin had 25 wins, a 0.931 save percentage, a 1.59 gaa, eight shut outs, and more importantly got a majority of starts for him team. There is not much more to say other than what Isle’s fans say: “Get to the NHL quicker!” KHL contract up 2019-2020
Igor Shestyorkin – Playing in only 28 games (as he splits starts with Mikko Koskinen, who has started all playoff games) for SKA, Shestyorkin had 20 wins, a0.933 save percentage, a 1.57 goals against average, and seven shut outs. KHL contract up 201-2020
Ilya Samsonov – Playing in only 26 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, as he is the 1B on the team, Samsonov had 12 wins, a 0.926 sv%, a 2.31 gaa, and three shut outs. He is coming to North America and to Capitals training camp in 2017, and has already stated he is fine to play and develop in the AHL until he is ready for the NHL. He could back up as soon as the 2019-2020 season.
That is all for me. I hope you enjoyed. Again next month will be highlighting the playoffs in the KHL, catch me ramble tomorrow (Thursday).
I use twitter, here @FHPQuinn