Russian Prospects: who’s hot, who’s not

Alessandro Seren Rosso




After more than a month of KHL play it's easy to figure out who's hot and who's not among prospects.


Kirill Petrov is definitely the hottest KHL prospect right now, and maybe even in the entire league. After his move from Ak Bars Kazan to Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk he not only started playing some quality minutes, but he started producing. So far he scored eight points in as many games, but what's more important is that his arrival in the lineup sparked the team, which is now the ninth seed in the standings after being promoted from the Russian High League. This is surely a great achievement and Petrov and his powerplay skills have much to do with it. Petrov is definitely progressing, getting the most ice time he ever got in his career and this year will be much better for the Isles prospect’s development.


Washington prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov also is making progress. After missing a week due to a shoulder injury, Kuznetsov had a hard time in his first game, but then started scoring again. To tell the truth his problems in the first game were probably due to the change of coaches. Traktor started the season rather badly and they decided to fire their head coach and hire Evgeny Belousov, who won multiple Russian championship titles with Metallurg Magnitogorsk and Avangard Omsk. Belousov most likely wanted to debut with a win and thus played with three lines only, benching Kuznetsov's unit for almost the whole game. But then Belousov started rolling four lines again and Kuznetsov repaid his trust scoring two points, one goal and one assist, in the next two games. Kuznetsov is going to play less under the new coach, but Belousov is a great coach and thus he is the ideal mentor for Kuznetsov, who plays on a line with Flyers' prospect Andrei Popov. Kuznetsov has now five points (two goals and three assists) under his belt.


On the other hand some players didn't do too well recently, and thus fit the "not" category.

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Dmitry Orlov, another Cap’s prospect, is surely a player which deserves to be there. Metallurg Novokuznetsk is on a five-game losing streak and Orlov isn't doing any better. He has been demoted down to the third line (he started the season playing on the first) and got only one point in the latest five games. His team needs to shake things up and he needs it too. Adding some accuracy to his strong shot from the point wouldn't hurt, right now he has a shooting percentage of only .038, scoring only one goal.


Orlov's team mate Maxim Kitsyn isn't having a good time as well. After getting an assist in his first KHL game of the season (he was suffering from an elbow injury, had to undergo a surgery) he failed to produce in the next games. He definitely needs to get some KHL scoring as last year he had two points only and this year he picked up one assist in four games.