For January we shall go over how the 2018 class is fairing in the KHL
Vitali Kravtsov (NYR; #9, 1st round) – Kravtsov is having a good season on a pretty poor Traktor team with 17 points in 39 games, which is pretty good for an 18/19 year old. He was also a standout for Russia at the World Junior Championship playing centre which is not his normal position. Kravtsov has stated that once the KHL season commences he will come over to North America.
Grigori Denisenko (FLA; #15, 1st round) – Denisenko has bounced around all three divisions this season. He scored three points in four MHL games and three points in six VHL games, and really he is too good for both of those divisions. In the KHL, for Lokomotiv, Denisenko has only five points in 20 games (as young players routinely get low ice time), but has 31 PIMs as he has quite a short temper. He was also a stand out on the loaded top line for Russia at the World Juniors with Kravtsov and Kostin.
Alexander Romanov (MTL; #38, 2nd round) – Romanov surprised a lot of people who watched the Russian World Junior squad as he was one of the best defensemen on the team, and tournament. He is playing on the best team in the KHL, CSKA Moskva, and has no points but is solid on the mid-bottom pairing. He projects to be a #2 (at best) to #5 (at worst for making it) two-way defenseman
Kirill Marchenko (CBJ; #49, 2nd round) – Marchenko has bounced around the MHL and VHL, and has managed to sneak in to one KHL game (with no points). He has figured out the MHL with 19 points in 15 games, but cannot get a grasp on the VHL with three points in 16 games. Marchenko did play well at the World Juniors despite what the numbers show (just one goal), he just was afforded minimal opportunity. He is a power winger with top line scoring upside if he can figure it all out.
Ivan D. Morozov (VGK; #61, 2nd round) – Playing with Marchenko in the MHL, VHL, and KHL with SKA, Morozov has had the same style of scoring. The young centre had 23 points in 16 MHL games, four points in 15 games, and no points in four KHL games. He also had the same opportunity as Marchenko in the World Juniors, but with an added assist. He projects to be a smart #2/#3 centre.
Bulat Shafigullin (LA; #82, 3rd round) – Shafigullin has bounced around the MHL and KHL, and is somehow has an “A” in the KHL (but not in the MHL) for Neftekhimik. The team is one of the worst in the KHL and Shafigullin only has two assists in 31 games, and of course is not afforded much ice time. He could become a mid-line scoring winger.
Nikolai Kovalenko (COL; #171, 6th round) – Kovalenko, playing for Lokomotiv, has pretty much left the MHL behind as he has only played in the KHL this season. He only has five points in 27 low-ice time games. Kovalenko played quite well at the World Juniors with three points in six games, and could become a scoring line winger if all goes well.
Artyom Manukyan (VAN; #186, 6th round) – An older player to be drafted (at 19) in 2018, Manukyan is a small skilled winger. He has 13 points in 54 games for a good Avangard team, but is not afforded the best positions to score as older players are. If he can get stronger and find his game he could be a skilled mid-level winger that excels on the powerplay.
Pavel Shen (BOS; #212, 7th round) – Shen was a very good gamble pick for Boston in the final round. He really stood out at the World Juniors (in most games) and was quite good at penalty killing. He has bounced around the KHL, MHL and VHL with a combined two points in 11 MHL and VHL games. His KHL production is at zero but he gets minimal time to do anything. Shen could turn out to be a skilled two-way player.
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