VHL and MHL in relation to the KHL
When looking into the KHL there are other two Russian leagues that work along with it. In this post I will run through of them and highlight their top scorers, as when looking at a prospects production overseas I always saw points in these three leagues in one year for a player.
Translated to also be known as the Major Hockey League, or Higher Hockey League, the VHL (founded in 2010) is considered to be a step down talentwise from the KHL, housing 26 teams in the league, but is not considered a farm team to the KHL. The confusing part is that the two leagues do work together and transfer players between them, calling them up or down. On each VHL team’s roster only a maximum of seven players over the age of 29 are allowed. There are rumours the league could soon become a farm league of the KHL but I cannot confirm that. Many of the top scorers in the VHL are not really on any prospect radar so I will not dive much into them.
VHL top five scorers
Artyom Gordeyev (28 years – F)
In 47 games played for Toros Neftekamsk, Gordeyev has 42 points to lead the league in scoring but cannot seem to stick long term in the KHL.
Stanislav Golovanov (33 years – F)
In 46 games played for the same team above (the team has three players in the top five), Golovanov is a playmaker with 42 points as he has pretty much been a career VHLer.
Anatoli Rayenko (30 years – F)
The forward for Molot-Prikamie Perm has 38 points in 47 games, and has played a majority of his career in the VHL and Russia2/3 leagues.
Igor Cherkasov (25 years – F)
The youngest player in the top five scorers has 37 points in 40 games for Yuzhny Ural Orsk, and has never gotten a crack at the KHL as of yet.
Artur Sarvarov (31 years – F)
Sarvarov has 35 points for Sarayarka Karaganda in 45 games played.
The Minor or Youth Hockey League was founded in 2009, consists of 39 teams from 7 countries, and a are used as minor league teams for their respective KHL teams and can be minor league teams for other professional leagues like the VHL, BEL, and PHL. Some teams do not even have an affiliated team but are in the league anyway. The fact that the MHL can be an affiliate for the KHL and VHL, while some teams in the VHL can also be affiliates for KHL teams, makes the whole set up confusing when trying to track league affiliations. In the MHL players cannot be 21 and older, and once they are too old for the MHL they must go to one of the other leagues. Highlighted below are the top five point leaders in the MHL, and may be on some NHL radars but it will be tough as none are over six feet tall.
MHL top five scorers
Artyom Manukyan (18 years – F)
Playing for Omskie Yastreby, Manukyan is the youngest player in the top five and leads the league in scoring by 12 points. He has 96 points, 36 of those goals with 60 assists, in only 52 games played. He will be 19 in June and could potentially be a top player for Russia in the upcoming World Junior Championship. Now you (the reader) may be wondering why you have not heard of Maukyan, at least I was, but then I read why. Manukyan is 5’7 and only 139 pounds, making him a very small player. Now he does have the skill, speed, IQ, and elusiveness that NHL teams covet, but he also has the size that many shy away from (and the birth country). If he were to gain some mass to his frame it would be wise of an NHL team to take a chance on this player late in the 2017 draft. He has set the record for point seasons in the MHL with 96, the previous being 94, so there is a ton of skill there. The points separating third place in scoring from 31st are 19 points, now the points separating Manukyan from third place is 37 TOTAL POINTS, if this kid could grow he could be very sought after asset.
Anton Kovalyov (19 years – F)
Kovalyov also plays for Omskie Yastreby and is riding shotgun to Manukyan’s hot play. While being no slouch of his own in the skill department, he has 84 points in 48 games, with 39 of those being goals. He has surprisingly never played in any international tournaments despite putting up have a 0.99 point per game average in the MHL. Kovalyov is 5’10 and about 170 pounds, so there is room to grow, but since he is 25 points away from the next highest point producer, he should be getting looks from NHL squads. What seems more likely however is that he plays in the KHL next season and within a few seasons you may hear his name.
Andrei Karavayev (19 years – F)
In his fourth season of MHL play for Kuznetskie Medvedi, Karavayev has 59 points in 44 games as his points have increased every season. Standing at 5’9 and 170 pounds, the forward has played in 23 KHL games over the past two seasons tallying only four points with low ice time. Karavayev could spend next season in the MHL or go to the KHL, but he may end up on some NHL teams map in the future.
Konstantin Parkhomenko (20 years – F)
Playing in his final MHL season for Kuznetskie Medvedi, Parkhomenko is playing his best hockey to date. His previous career high was 17 points, but currently he has 58 points in 43 games. Injuries have been a factor to Parkhomenko’s career so far, as he is only 5’8, but this season he is fully healthy and playing up to his potential. Parkhomenko will likely need a few seasons in the KHL before he is ever on an NHL map, but he may be one of those players that never come over as well.
Dmitri Shaburov (20 years – F)
Shaburov has had an interesting career path to say the least in his four years in the MHL for Amurskie Tigry Khabarovsk. In his first season he registered zero points in 43 games, he then preceded that with 36 points in 55 games, 29 points in40 games, and this current season he has 58 points in 50 games as he is carrying the team he has played with through his entire career. At 20 years old and with a good, yet slight, frame to him Shaburov could potentially be a big free agent signing down the line.
Most impressive goalie so far:
Danil Kudashev (20 years – G)
Kudashev has put up great numbers in the MHL since the 2014 season. He has three straight seasons of a plus 0.930 save percentage, including this year where he has a 0.938 save percentage in 34 games played for Sarmaty Orenburg. Previous seasons were with the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl franchise as he was called up last season but never played. Kudashev could be a hidden gem in the Russian leagues as he has good size standing at 6’1, but has never played in the KHL to date. The way Shestyorkin, Sorokin, and Samsonov are all playing in the KHL it will be hard for any other goalie to make a name for himself but if you can keep a tab on any goalie he may fit that mold.
KHL scoring prospects currently:
TBL – Nikita Gusev has 68 points in 54 games, good for fourth in KHL scoring.
Sought after UFA – Yevgeni (Evgeni) Dadonov has 62 points in 50 games, good for seventh in league scoring.
Min – Kirill Kaprizov has 42 points in 47 games, good for 21st in KHL scoring.
Sought after UFA – Vladimir Tkachyov (the other one) has 39 points in 47 games, good for 24th in league scoring.
CHI – Maxim Shalunov has 36 points in 46 games, good for 34th in league scoring.
Thanks for reading.
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