Finally the KHL write has come back to DobberProspects.
There have already been 23 games (for most clubs) played in the KHL as opposed to around six in the NHL to date. It is the usual suspects who will be mainly featured in this update as they are the ones racking up the points. A dive into the MHL (and VHL) and 2018 prospects will take place next month.
To start if you are wondering who is leading the KHL in points well he is a familiar face with zero NHL games in keeper pools, and is of course on the top KHL team SKA who is 21-0-2 with a +67 goal differential.
Nikita Gusev – He has 32 points in 23 games to lead the league as he is still tearing the KHL up. Of note however, four of the top five KHL scorers are all from SKA as that team should be pretty much unbeatable, at least in the regular season. What more is there to say about Gusev, other than “Please come over to the NHL”, he is a to prospect and the second he comes over he will be a high point producer, it is just like Tom Petty (RIP) says: “the waiting is the hardest part.”
Eeli Tolvanen – Many would refer to Tolvanen as the steal of the 2017 draft and there would be an argument for him as at least the steal of the first round for the Predators. Currently he is leading Jokerit in scoring with 21 points in 18 games, which is also good for 10th overall in league scoring. This author thought Eeli would slow down after his hot start, but nope he just keeps producing with no signs of slowing down. The only question remaining right now with Tolvanen is: how does this kid not make the Nashville Predators in the 2018-2019 season?
Kirill Kaprizov – The top CSK scorer is none other than Kaprizov (who I will apparently always spell with an “s” first) who leads the team with 17 points in 16 games, with 10 of those being goals. Kaprizov was arguable the fastest rising prospects last season as he is currently scoring over a point per game (barely I know) which is a higher rate than his previous season when he broke Evgeni Kuznetsov’s teenage scoring record. There was a boatload of confusion this summer in regards to KK’s availability to come over to the NHL. First he had one season in the KHL left, then apparently the team signed him to a three-year deal that he did not acknowledge only to later agree to that deal and crush fantasy teams owners dreams of a waiver wire steal. Who knows when he will come over but right now he is an incredible buy-low as there are people thinking he will never come over, he will, hopefully sooner than later.
Valeri Nichushkin – In 17 games for CSK the runaway Stars forward has 11 points as he continues to just be mediocre instead of standing out and taking over games as everyone had hoped. If he is to come back and be a top six forward for the Stars next season he really needs to up his game in the KHL, as it stands right now he looks more like a middling forward (lines two or three) that has spirts of awesomeness but always leaves you wanting more.
Mikhail Grigorenko – Former Buffalo Sabres first round rushed pick, turned Avalanche turned KHL player has only ten points in 16 games for CSK as he continues to leave you wanting more every time he’s on the ice. But to be fair that is a fine point total for an average team.
Yegor Rykov – Rykov continues to be a steady yet under-used defenseman for SKA in the KHL. The team is too good and young players rarely get a chance at big minutes in this league so expect around the same usage all season. He does have the skill to play and is a prospect to watch but with only four assists in 22 games it is tough to project scoring. Devils fans should be happy and anticipate a good young defenseman when he comes over to North America.
Now comes the time to highlight the big three prospect goalies in the KHL.
Igor Shestyorkin – Playing on the best team Shestyorkin is 12-0-1 in 15 games as he is the 1A, with Mikko Koskinen as the 1B with a 7-0-1 record, and you may look at that team and think “wow, no wonder his numbers are so good” but you would be incorrect as he is as much a part of the wins as the offense is. As of right now Shestyorkin is riding a 0.954 save percentage and a 1.21 goals against average, which is insane. If he is somehow unowned in your keeper league….. can I join it?
Ilya Sorokin – Sorokin is probably the most non-talked about top goaltending prospect there is, thanks in large part to Igor Shestyorkin. Sorokin is 8-3 in 13 games as the 1A on CSK, with Lars Johansson playing the 1B behind him. Sorokin is also making the KHL look easy as he has a 0.925 save percentage and a 1.59 gaa. If you are looking to trade for a top goaltending prospect target Sorokin as he is mentioned so little he may be had cheaper than others and return a better investment in the future.
Shestyorkin’s contract is up at the end of the 2018-2019 season and Ilya Sorokin’s is up following the 2019-2020 season. Expect Shestyorkin to stay in the KHL until the end of the 2020 season as well, with rumour having it both goalies want to come over at the same time to begin their NHL careers and that would have to be at the conclusion of the 2020 KHL season.
Ilya Samsonov – Samsonov is in more of a split starting scenario for MMG with Vasily Koshechkin playing 13 games and Samsonov at 12, though Samsonov does have the winning record of the two. Samsonov does have a 0.918 save percentage and a 2.55 gaa which is more indicative of the team and not him. His contract is up at the end of this KHL season and he has indicated his intention to come to the NHL, and is even willing to play in the AHL to get North American experience and improve his game. Samsonov could turn out to be the best of the three but time will tell.
Alright, that is all. Thanks for reading.
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