The guy everyone wants to keep track of in the KHL – Dmitri Voronkov – is off to a pedestrian start offensively, with just 1 assist through 9 games for Ak Bars Kazan. He’ll be an interesting player to watch this season because he’s in the final year of his KHL deal. Remembering what happened to Kirill Marchenko last season tells us that, unless he signs an extension, he’ll be dealing with a lot less ice time this season.
After his first NHL camp this fall, Mikael Pyythia was loaned back to TPS (FIN Liiga) and has started off slowly, scoring one goal through his first four games. This is a player who is expected to put up big numbers in Finland this season, just one year removed from a 21 goal, 35 point effort in 56 games. He was invisible at times playing on the NHL surface, but remains one of the more intriguing goal scorers in the system.
Hulking winger Kirill Dolzhenkov has been held scoreless through 5 KHL games this fall, but has produced well in the MHL, Russia’s equivalent to junior hockey. Through 11 games at the lower level, he has 5 goals and 14 points – along with 41 minutes in penalties. With his size and hands, he’s bound to turn some heads as an NHL prospect.
2019 4th-round pick Eric Hjorth is playing in Sweden’s Allsvenskan (tier 2), and sits with 1 goal and 1 assist through 8 games played. His development is a little bit concerning at this point – once heralded as an up and coming offensive defenseman, he’s struggling produce in a lower level league. This season seems crucial for him to re-establish himself as a legitimate NHL prospect, and that doesn’t appear to be happening just yet.
Another defenseman playing overseas, Nikolai Makarov looks like a promising two-way defender. He’s split time this fall between the VHL (Tier 2), and the MHL in Russia, scoring one assist in each league. His game isn’t built around offense, he’s a steady defender with good gap control and physicality. He could eventually develop into a third pairing, shutdown defender.
The lone goalie in the system playing overseas, Sergei Ivanov looks primed to spend the season at the junior level in Russia, where he currently boasts a 2-0-1 record with a 91.1% save percentage. He’s small, but he’s a good puck stopper with plenty of upside. We’ll be watching his development closely.
Not to be forgotten: 2020 6th round pick Samuel Johannesson, who is off to a red hot start with Brynas IF (SHL). He has 2 goals and 7 points through 10 games, in one of the toughest leagues in the world to score in. He’s small (5-11, 176 pounds), but he looks like he could be a rising asset here. We’ll keep a close eye on his progression this season.