The New Jersey Devils can have three prospects competing and creating in Russia this upcoming season in D Yegor Zaitsev, D Daniil Misyul, and LW Arseni Gritsyuk. They may also have one other prospect in C Mikhail Maltsev that has developed in Russia and is about to affix the Binghamton Devils after signing his entry-level contract with the Devils again in Might. I reached out to Viktor Fomich who runs the @RUSProspects twitter account to be taught extra about these gamers and the place they at present are of their improvement. I wish to thank Viktor for taking the time to reply my questions and for operating a complete account masking Russian hockey prospects. I extremely suggest following his account should you haven’t already. It’s an incredible option to hold updated on every part happening with prospects in Russian hockey.
C Mikhail Maltsev (SKA St. Petersburg, now signed with Binghamton)
Brian Franken: The New Jersey Devils drafted Maltsev within the 4th spherical of the 2016 NHL Draft with the hopes that he might change into a cellular, two-way heart. How would you describe his sport? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Viktor Fomich: Maltsev actually is a two-way heart and his largest energy is that he’s an all-around participant with principally no actual weaknesses. Nonetheless there’s a weak spot: he’s respectable at every part, but you may’t actually say he excels at one thing specifically, so it’s not clear if there’s something that may be finally developed to the extent excessive sufficient to be a profitable NHLer.
BF: How do you’re feeling Maltsev’s improvement has gone over the previous three seasons? What kind of participant do you assume he may be within the NHL and do you assume he’ll notice his potential to make it at that stage sometime?
VF: Maltsev’s improvement has been going fairly regular, no actual “wow” moments, but no precise points: he has proven that he has grown out of the juniors, as he was wanting fairly strong on the VHL stage, nonetheless he didn’t change into a full-time KHLer. Now I believe hopes are that in the long run he can change into the subsequent Brylin for the NJD — a dependable third line heart, clearly it’s going to rely on how his improvement shall be ongoing additional, however right here Brylin himself will help, as he’s a coach on the Bing Devils group.
D Yegor Zaitsev (Dynamo Moscow)
BF: The New Jersey Devils took a flier on Zaitsev by drafting him within the seventh spherical of the 2017 NHL Draft regardless of him being an overage prospect. What’s his fashion of play? What does he do nicely already and what does he nonetheless have to work on?
VF: Zaitsev is an athletic, hard-working and hard-hitting defensive D, who’s comfy with enjoying at each side of the ice. Not plenty of offense in his sport, however can sometimes dangerously shoot the puck from the blue line. He has been one of many league leaders in hits within the KHL 2018-19 season, which could be very spectacular at his age, however he positively must change into rather more dependable, as it’s necessary for the defenseman of his kind.
BF: From an outsider’s perspective, it appears he actually took a step ahead final 12 months with Dynamo by showing in 47 KHL common season video games whereas averaging 12:51 per sport and 11 playoff video games whereas averaging 12:22. How do you’re feeling his improvement has been going? Is he a possible NHL participant?
VF: When it comes to Zaitsev’s improvement you may say that it has been going not unhealthy and never good. On one hand he has efficiently developed to the purpose the place he has confirmed that he can play on the KHL stage, alternatively he nonetheless has too many flaws in his sport to be thought-about a full-time KHL common. Within the upcoming season, it’s about time to lastly step up and begin displaying that he’s in a position to do one thing extra than simply hit every part that strikes. Till then it’s exhausting to evaluate his NHL potential.
BF: It seems that he’s underneath contract with Dynamo by the tip of the 2020-21 season. What kind of function do you count on him to have over the subsequent 2 seasons with the membership?
VF: Persevering with the thought from the earlier query, the upcoming season shall be extraordinarily necessary for Zaitsev. The Dynamo group is aiming excessive and the competitors at D is extraordinarily excessive as nicely. If he gained’t present that he isn’t error susceptible anymore fast sufficient, he’s going to search out himself wholesome scratched and perhaps traded away to a weaker group. Nonetheless there may be additionally some excellent news: Dynamo is switching to the NHL-sized rink this season, which ought to be extra comfy for defensemen of Zaitsev’s kind.
D Daniil Misyul (Lokomotiv Yaroslavl)
BF: The New Jersey Devils chosen defender Daniil Misyul within the third spherical of the 2019 NHL Draft. Misyul spent most of final season within the MHL with Loko Yaroslavl, logging a median ice time of 20:29 throughout 46 common season video games and a median ice time of 22:39 throughout 10 playoff video games. Ought to we count on to see Misyul break up time between the KHL/VHL/MHL this upcoming season? What do you assume could be finest for his improvement?
VF: There are plenty of uncertainties concerning the coming season by way of Misyul’s function, as quite a bit has modified within the Lokomotiv group just lately. Within the KHL Craig MacTavish has been named as the pinnacle coach and it’s not clear how a lot belief will he put within the younger gamers. As for the VHL, Lokomotiv has signed an affiliation settlement with the impartial VHL group Buran Voronezh and for now it’s not clear how a lot icetime they may wish to allocate for Lokomotiv’s gamers. With that being mentioned, I nonetheless assume that the group will play Misyul principally outdoors the junior stage, as he appeared fairly assured on the KHL stage final season and, in my view, this might be the most effective for him. Moreover, Misyul is anticipated to spend so much of time with the Group Russia U20, as he is likely one of the foremost candidates for the WJC roster spots on protection.
BF: I’ve seen numerous reviews that describe Misyul as a cellular, two-way defender who performs nicely along with his lengthy body in entrance of his web. How would you describe his sport and do you assume he has the instruments to doubtlessly translate it to NHL success sometime?
VF: Misyul positively has acquired the instruments that may be developed to the NHL stage, the problem was all the time the toolbox, however it seems to be like there has lastly been some progress within the second half of final season when he confirmed that he’s succesful to hold necessary roles each on the KHL stage and within the Group Russia U20. If speaking about his sport, whereas he’s a defense-first kind of D, however nonetheless he likes to hold the puck too now and again and is comfy on the PP orchestrating duties. Misyul positively likes to play bodily sport and is presented sufficient for that and is a really strong skater — so yeah, as I’ve already talked about, the instruments are completely advantageous, must put these in a correct toolbox and on this stage of his improvement he’s working precisely on that.
LW Arseni Gritsyuk (Avangard Omsk)
BF: One of many underneath the radar late spherical picks the Devils made was taking left wing Arseni Gritsyuk within the fifth spherical of the 2019 NHL Draft. Based mostly on numerous draft guides I’ve learn, it appears that evidently Gritsyuk has above common pace that he’s in a position to make use of to make performs offensively and on the forecheck. I’ve additionally learn differing opinions on his hockey sense/IQ. How would you describe his sport? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
VF: I’ll begin with the weaknesses: Gritsyuk isn’t precisely essentially the most naturally gifted man by way of the scale and skating mixture — whereas he has acquired respectable pace, it’s is likely one of the instances when you may hear complaints that you simply’d count on him to be quicker for his dimension. Moreover, on the present level, his defensive sport is sort of subpar. Nonetheless I believe that the Devils had been very good with this choose, as in Gritsyuk I see an excellent attacking skillset, creativity and a strong total understanding of the sport, which finally would possibly lead to one thing good.
BF: I don’t see any affirmation on EliteProspects however ought to we count on Gritsyuk to be again with the Avangard Omsk group this upcoming season? Do you assume he’ll primarily be a MHL participant this 12 months or perhaps see time within the KHL and/or VHL?
VF: At the moment he’s on the Avangard KHL group’s camp, coaching underneath the steering of Bob Hartley, however the normal expectation is that Gritsyuk will principally play within the MHL within the coming season.
BF: Do you view Gritsyuk as a official NHL prospect? If he makes it, what kind of participant do you assume he may be?
VF: Gritsyuk is certainly a strong prospect, however in the identical time he’s a long-shot: there are good instruments to develop, however for the participant of his kind the end result will doubtless be seen in one thing like Four-5 years. When it comes to the ceiling I believe he can change into a High 6 LW within the NHL sooner or later.
I wish to thank Viktor for offering us with perception into all Four of those prospects. Make sure you comply with him on twitter (@RUSProspects) to maintain updated on all issues prospect associated in Russian hockey. Now I wish to hear your opinions on these prospects. Which of those prospects are you enthusiastic about? Which of those prospects do you’re feeling are more likely to make an influence for the Devils down the street? What are your expectations for the upcoming season on the subject of these prospects? Go away your feedback under and thanks for studying!