Going over the top 2017 prospects as of right now.
Klim Kostin – RW
Kostin is routinely touted as a top 10 pick for the 2017 draft, often ranked in the four to eight range. Kostin is a 6’3, 196-pound, right winger who can take over games on the right side using his size, skill and speed. He is of the same mould as two other power right wingers from Russia, who were also first round selections, Valerie Nichushkin and Denis Guryanov. Kostin has moved around all three levels of the league this season spending one game in the MHL, eight in the KHL, where he began, and six most recently in the VHL. His only point was registered in his only MHL game, and put up 27 minutes in penalties in his eight KHL games, showing a multi-category side.
In the U18 Hlinka Memorial tournament, where he captained team Russia, Kostin posted seven points in five games, and tacked on 29 penalty minutes in the tournament as well. In the U20 Junior Super Series he only posted two points in five games, just moderate production. Kostin was not invited to Russia’s World Junior Championship team oddly enough, but current season production could be the reasoning. However there is still a chance he could be invited depending on his play in the World Junior A Championship for Russia. In an underwhelming draft class Kostin could provide a savvy pick for fantasy GMs in the first round.
Kostin is the only player projected to go in the first two rounds. The rest of the players listed are long shots or are ones I have seen projected on mock drafts around "the internets" to go late in the draft.
Kirill Slepets – RW
Slepets is a skilled winger with a slight frame who stands at 5’10 and plays for Loko Yaroslavl of the MHL. Currently he has eight points in 24 games, which is admittedly not great but it can be chalked up to his first season in the MHL for a professional team. He was not invited to the World Junior tournament for Russia and will not have the spotlight to show off his talents to scouts. Some mock drafts have him as a late third round pick but he may slip further due to non-exposure, and of course (like all Russian players) the Russian factor.
Alexei Lipanov – C
One of the younger Russian born players in the draft, Lipanov is a tall lanky centre with good vision and creativity. He finished the Hlinka Memorial tournament with five assists in five games and is currently adjusting to the pro leagues. He played nine games in the VHL, tallying two points, and 17 games in the MHL with seven points. Currently he is listed as a late third round pick, but with not being invited to the World Juniors as well as most players on this list, his will likely fall.
Alexei Lobanov – C
Lobanov is a beast of a player, who also has a name very similar to the one noted above. He is 6’4 and 225lbs, which are traits scouts love. He needs to work on his skating and speed, like most large players, and has mediocre to low numbers. In the MHL for Omskie Yastreby he has five points in 26 games, and has never had a better point per game average than 0.5. He is on this list as a player who may get selected because of his size, not his skill, and if available in deep drafts pick Lipanov over him.
Daniil Tarasov – G
Tarasov is a 6’3 Russian goaltender who is the top goalie prospect from the KHL, and with current drafted KHL goalies tearing up the prospect world he should be noted on draft boards. He is playing for Tolpar Ufa of the MHL, but unfortunately the stats for this season cannot be found so he does not have updated stats until hopefully later in the season. His performance at the U18s for Russia in 2015-2016 put him on the map for scouts as he had a 2.11 goals against average and a 0.921 save percentage. Draft boards have him going in round four and he could provide value with the pick.
Not listed on any draft boards but looking into KHL players who are potential picks
Dmitri Rodionychev – D
Rodionychev is a large defenseman standing at 6’3, weighing 229lbs, and playing in all three leagues this season. He has nine games played in the VHL, six in the MHL, where he put up a goal and an assist, and five KHL games. Due to his size there is a good chance he could be selected in the later rounds of the draft, and he has experience playing against older players for Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL.
Razat Timirov – RW/LW
Timirov is a typical skilled and small Russian player, standing at 5’7 and weighing only 121lbs. For the 2015-2016 season in the U17 tournament for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, he posted six goals and four assists in six games. Currently in the MHL for Reaktor Nizhnekamsk he has 19 points in 30 games, one of the higher point totals for players under 18 in the MHL. It is unlikely a team takes a chance in him with his frame. Timirov is a good candidate for being redrafted once he adds more muscle to his frame, and if it takes time he could be another camp invitee that impresses, like Sergei Tolchinsky in Carolina.
Nikita Zhukov – LW
Zhukov is a skilled LW, who is also on the small and light side being that he is 5’8 and 143lbs. He is currently playing in the NMHL for Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl registering 17 points in 20 games, and has seen one game in the MHL. Zhukov is a better candidate to get selected than previous players mentioned as he is developed a little more than others, but is just taking a slower progression to playing in professional KHL games.
Next update will go over the WJC roster and players who stood out.
Thanks for reading. Follow me on the cyber as I update Capitals prospects and am hilarious. –> @FHPQuinn
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