March 25, 2001
of 20 to 24 Year-Old Russian Players
Two weeks ago someone contacted me via HockeyZonePlus and asked if I can give them some brief reports on un-drafted 20 to 24 years-old Russians who may draw attention at this year's NHL Entry Draft.
The request made me think hard about the players who now represent Russian hockey in the Superleague and Higher League. It made me realize that the teams of our leagues mainly consist of numerous young skillful players who are eligible for the draft and overagers who missed their chance to make the NHL due to some unknown reasons.
I opened a fresh issue of the leading Russian sporting newspaper and took a look at the list of scoring leaders of the Superleague among forwards.
# Name Team GP G A PTS
1 Razin Metallurg Magnitogorsk 47 17 32 49
2 Kvartalnov AkBars Kazan 42 22 21 43
3 Shalamay Metallurg Novokuznetsk 40 13 27 40
4 Golts Matallurg Magnitogorsk 45 28 11 39
5 Semak Salavat Yulayev Ufa 43 17 21 38
6 Kasyanov Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk 48 15 23 38
7 Koreshkov Alex. Metallurg Magnitogorsk 47 18 19 37
8 Osipov Sergey Metallurg Magnitogorsk 46 18 18 36
9 Koreshkov Yevgeny Metallurg Magnitogorsk 43 16 18 34
10 Gulyavtsev Molot Prykamye 37 14 20 34
11 Chernov Metallurg Magnitogorsk 44 15 17 32
12 Kalyuzhny Metallurg Magnitogorsk 45 9 23 32
13 Kudashov Dynamo Moscow 44 12 18 30
14 Zatonsky Avangard Omsk 48 17 12 29
15 Kuznetsov Metallurg Magnitogorsk 44 16 13 29
16 Savchuk Molot Prykamye 44 12 17 29
17 Antonenko Molot Prykamye 44 10 18 28
18 Datsyuk AkBars 46 9 19 28
19 Afinogenov Lada Tolyatti 47 11 16 27
20 Romanov Molot Prykamye 43 16 10 26
The names of former Bruin Dmitry Kvartalnov and Devil Alexander Semak without any doubt are familiar to the North American hockey fans. They are experienced athletes who will soon retire. As for the others, there are only two draftees with chances to reach the NHL: 2000 Dallas' 162 overall choice Artem Chernov and 1998 Detroit's 171 overall pick. Possibly some hockey fans remember 1994 Los Angeles' 241 overall pick Sergey Shalamay and 1991 Toronto's 102 choice Aleksey Kudashov.
What about the rest of the players? The leading scorer Andrey Razin is the member of Team Russia. He is 28 years of age. His teammate Alexander Golts is 29 years of age. Both demonstrate excellent play on the national team and on their club team. There is a possibility that they can be selected by an NHL club at the 2001 Draft. I'm not exaggerating at all. Look at the following example: Alexnander Khavanov of the St. Louis Blues and his former teammate now Tampa's player Alexander Kharitonov. Khavanov is 29 years of age and Kharitonov is 25. Both look good on their NHL team. You might wonder what is my point. My answer is simply that overagers are the best players in current Russian hockey leagues. Russian hockey has an excellent layer of players born at the end of the 60s up to the middle of 70s.
Name Birth Date
Andrey Razin 1973
Dmitry Kvartalnov 1966
Sergey Shalamay 1976
Alexander Golts 1972
Alexander Semak 1972
Rinat Kasyanov 1971
Alexander Koreshkov 1968
Sergey Osipov 1967
Yevgeny Koreshkov 1970
Alexander Gulyavtsev 1973
Artem Chernov 1980
Alexey Kalyuzhny 1977
Alexey Kudashov 1971
Dmitry Zatonsky 1971
Yury Kuznetsov 1971
Oleg Savchuk 1980
Oleg Antonenko 1971
Pavel Datsyuk 1978
Denis Afinogenov 1974
Dmitry Romanov 1971
Where are the good players born in 1976 and after? The answer is obvious. They play for NHL teams of their minor leagues affiliates. Oleg Tverdovsky, Maxim Rybin, Maxim Balmochnykh, Vitaly Vishnevsky, Dmitry Vlasenkov, Sergey Samsonov, Max Afinogenov, Dmitry Kalinin etc. Dozens of Russian players left the country for the NHL. The absence of players between age 20 and 24 is evident. Each year, Russian clubs search for good players but in vain because there is not any decent players left in that age group. Good players have been drafted and are preparing to go to North America pretty soon. Solid un-drafted athletes are the rare thing. So Russia has nothing to do but to play junior-aged players as it is. Such a good come back as Kvartalnov's and Semak's is not typical for Russia. Not all former NHLers want to play for the clubs where they have been brought up. If the thing happens, it's a festivity for numerous hockey fans.
It's high time to stop the mass departure of youngsters for NHL clubs. Getting $US 150,000 from NHL teams for each player might be a better compensation instead of the miserable $US 50 000 that they get now. If it happens the renaissance of Russian hockey will happen.
HockeyZonePlus' Russian Correspondent