Thread: Prospect Info: 2013 NHL Draft Prospects I
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11-30-2012, 11:19 AM
dun worry he's cool
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
There's been a lot of things that have led up to the negative Russian rep, some of them founded, some of them unfounded.

(I'm going with drafted out of Russia/KHL and not Russian birth or heritage)

From 2000-2004, there were 19 Russians selected in the first round. Of those, eight were busts, four were decent players, and six were very good picks. The last player was Radulov, who of course fled to Russia when he faced some challenges.

I think the big problem was with the new CBA, there wasn't a transfer agreement with Russia, so there was no protection from the Russian leagues. From 2005-2011, only 9 Russians were selected in the first round, and you could argue each year the draft position dropped due to their nationality.

Looking closer at some of them...

2005 - None drafted for the first time since 1998, but a weak draft class. No Russians drafted made the NHL.

2007 - Cherepanov. Dropped quite a ways due to the "Russian" factor. Tragically died so hard to analyze, but the operation of the Russian league might have contributed to his death.

2008 - Filatov. Said to be a "sure thing" as he learned English beforehand and promised to play in the NHL. Famously bailed to Russia over disagreements with Ken Hitchcock. Traded for peanuts and bailed again the next year from Ottawa.

2009 - No Russians drafted.

2010 - Tarasenko. One of the highest rated prospects but hasn't come over to the NHL, choosing to play in the KHL.

2010 - Kuznetsov. Another highly rated prospect who continues to play in the KHL over the NHL.

2011 - No Russians drafted.

Since Ovechkin/Malkin, there haven't been any Russians drafted in the first round who have been significant impact players (you could argue Varlamov, but I'd say he's not a significant player at this point). That's seven years.

Now, Tarasenko and Kuznetsov could change things, and players like Burmistov, Kulikov, Yakupov, and Grigorenko have shown that for Russians who want to make the NHL, playing in North America first is a real statement to teams headed into the draft.
Filatov's problem was that he's not a good player, and not willing to work to improve (Filly don't do rebounds).

I'd argue you have to consider Varlamov a significant player. He's a legitimate starting goalie and Washington ended up receiving Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribiero (after adding Cody Eakin) for Varlamov. Turning the 23rd overall pick into an 11th overall pick plus a second rounder has to be seen as a success.

While the first round has been pretty barren for Russian talent lately, there have still been some players beyond that artificial cut off. Slava Voynov (32nd overall, 2008) came over directly from Russia and played a significant role in the Kings cup victory. Nikolai Kulemin (44th overall, 2006) has over 300 games played and over 150 points. Artem Anisimov (54th overall, 2006) has nearly 250 games played and over 100 points. Dmitry Orlov (55th overall, 2009) has one pro season under his belt, is currently in the AHL, and is penciled in for the Capitals' future blue line.

As for first rounders, you left out Namestnikov in 2011. Neither Kuznetsov nor Tarasenko played CHL. None of Kulikov, Orlov, Voynov, Varlamov, Kulemin, or Anisimov did either. Looking through the list of first rounders from 2005 onward, only Cherepanov, Filatov, Vishnevsky (3 AHL/NHL seasons and I don't think Dallas even offered him a second contract), and Tikhonov (3 AHL/NHL seasons, no idea on the story there) failed to become full time NHLers, and three of them had multiple NHL/AHL seasons (and the third can't be considered because of Cherepanov's situation). If Kuznetsov and Tarasenko come over (seems Tarasenko is all but guaranteed, Kuznetsov seems more unsure) there will literally be no real "Russian factor" situations since 2005. In fact, all first round drafted Russians since 2002 either completed an ELC (excluding Cherepanov). That might include 2001 as well (not sure if Knyazev's 2 AHL years completed his ELC).

The last Russian player who failed to ever come over to the AHL/NHL is Artyom Kryukov (15th overall, 2000). Other than him, I don't see that another first round Russian ever failed to play at least a season in the NHL/AHL.

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