An abrasive, two-way winger with tantalizing offensive upside. A thorn in the side of every opponent.
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August 2020 – The KHL friendly matches have begun and we’re starting to get a gauge on where some younger players will be slotting into the lineup. For Podkolzin, he ended last season with a bang, producing points, earning more trust and leaping in the proper direction. Early on, it appears that the kids are alright. Podkolzin, Morozov and Marchenko have seen time together at even-strength and look dangerous as a bottom-six unit. The recently-turned 19-year-old is also appearing to be a major component of the team’s penalty-killing group and has been seeing time on both power-play units. These are excellent signs for the second-year Russian pro.
Only three U20 KHL skaters have produced more than 30 points in a season – Evgeni Kuznetsov (x2), Eeli Tolvanen, and Kirill Kaprizov. It’s a difficult bar to reach especially playing on a stacked up SKA club that will still keep his minutes down a bit. But that should be the lofty expectation for Podkolzin in the 2020-21 campaign. If there’s a real season that is. Can’t forget that preface. Cam Robinson
April 2020 – Just like the rest of the world, Podkolzin’s season ended abruptly thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet the halt does little to diminish his 18-year-old campaign. After struggling to find a role through the first half of the season – going pointless through the first 17 games, the Canucks 2019 first-round pick managed to record eight points in his final 13 regular-season contests and three points in four playoff games. His ice time grew right along with his production. These are tremendous signs for such a young player in the world’s second-best league. There’s a reasonable chance he would’ve participated for the Russian’s at the men’s World Championships as well if it were not cancelled. Expect the bullish winger to see his role elevate further with SKA next season. Then, it should be off to Vancouver at the conclusion of his KHL deal. Cam Robinson
January 2020 – Podkolzin is beginning to figure out the KHL. The 18-year-old is currently riding a four-game point streak (2+2) and is seeing over 11 minutes of ice on a nightly basis after wallowing as the 13th forward for so long. You can see the energy in his game as he’s used a successful WJC performance to springboard up the lineup in SKA. Cam Robinson
January 2020 – Podkolzin returns to Russia with a silver medal and a boatload of missed opportunities. The 18-year-old forward was one of Russia’s best at the most recent World Junior Championships. He finished the event with five points in seven games but could have easily doubled that amount. He consistently set up his mates for grade A chances but they were rarely converted. The national team relied heavily on the 2019 10th overall selection at both ends of the rink. He was a monster defensively and consistently led all forwards in ice time. Podkolzin will return for a third and final U20 tournament next year where he’ll be considered one of the front-runners for the MVP award. Cam Robinson
October 2019 – Podkolzin is starting to get his feet under himself this season. The Canucks’ top prospect began his season in the KHL, however, he was unable to find much ice playing in SKA – a historically strong KHL squad. After 10 pointless contests and bouncing between the VHL, and Russian junior league (MHL), the 18-year-old seems to be settling into a top-six role with the VHL club. His brand of skilled, powerful, and reliable play has been evident throughout all three leagues, but his offensive development clearly benefits from seeing more than five minutes per night. Podkolzin should step back into the spotlight at the upcoming WJC where he’ll be looked at to provide a spark in all-situations as a returning player. Cam Robinson
June 2019 – The Vancouver Canucks selected Podkolzin with the 10th overall selection of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The club will wait at least two years for the winger to fulfill his commitment to SKA of the KHL. Podkolzin brings a feisty, abrasive, skillful game to the rink. He blends quick hands, sharp cuts, and a plus-release. Maintaining composure and channelling his energy into the appropriate spaces on the ice will be his next hurdle to climb. He has a unique complement of skills that have the potential to be dominant at the next level. Cam Robinson
June 2019 – Podkolzin was officially measured at 6-foot-0.75 and 196 pounds at the NHL Draft Combine. Jokke Nevalainen
November 2018 – Podkolzin started his draft season with a great performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup where he scored eight goals and three assists in just five games. He was also the team captain in that tournament. Podkolzin has all the offensive tools needed to become an elite-level player. He has great top speed and he can make plays at high speed. He’s capable of making quick turns. His shot is amazing but he also has the vision and passing skills to be a good playmaker. His one-on-one skills are great as well. On top of all that, he has good size (6-1, 190) and he isn’t afraid to use it. He can power his way to the net at the junior level, and when he adds more muscle to his frame, he can do that at the pro level as well. The Russian factor may cause Podkolzin to drop in the NHL Entry Draft and you may need to wait a couple of years while he develops in Russia but his offensive upside is one of the highest in this draft class. Jokke Nevalainen