Speedy middle-six winger with size
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October 2021 – Popugayev has retired from professional hockey. Dave Hall
March 2020 – Popugayev struggled over February and part of March with just four points in 14 games. There was some alarm as his play had noticeably slipped. The season being canceled may have been the best thing to happen in his development. Chris Wassel
January 2020 – Popugayev was sent back to the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder for more conditioning and playing time. That has worked effectively as the forward has piled up 21 points in 33 games. He could see some time with Binghamton soon enough. Chris Wassel
April 2019 — Popugayev finished his Binghamton season with five points in 17 games. He proved to be an effective forward which still needs some work defensively, finishing plays, and skating. Chris Wassel
March 2019 – Popugayev returned from an interesting tour of KHL and MHL Russian teams in February and immediate was assigned to Binghamton of the AHL. The Devils affiliate pressed the forward into action partly because of the number of injuries. It took him a while to get going but the 6-foot-6 winger has three points in his last four games. The Devils’ forward needed to come back to North American to develop his game as his idea to try Russia did not work so well. Chris Wassel
November 2017 – After a disappointing start to the season with the Prince George Cougars, Popugaev has decided to head home to Russia. The towering winger signed a three-way contract so he is eligible to play in the KHL, VHL, or the MHL. Devils fans should not be worried as Popugaev’s game may develop better in Russia and he is expected to be a long-term prospect. Grant Frey
May 2017 – It was a tale of two seasons for big Popugaev. He started the season playing in the WHL for Moose Jaw and was playing his way into first-round consideration with 22 goals and 51 points in 40 games. Then he was traded to Prince George, a contending team with better depth, and his production dropped to seven goals and 18 points in his final 31 games.
Popugaev is a big forward that doesn’t assert himself physically or aggressively well or often enough for many. His compete level has also been highly questioned. However, as he showed in Moose Jaw he is a highly talented player with a very good shot and soft hands. For a big man, he is a good skater and won the fastest skater competition in the MHL before coming to Canada.
Many a big talented prospect has had these concerns and perhaps he just needs the right situation to excel. If he ends up being drafted by the right team and ends up in the right situation he could be a solid NHL and fantasy player. Peter Harling