Blue Jackets Sign Dmitri Voronkov to Two Year ELC

Russian Olympic Committee's Dmitrii Voronkov arrives for the men's gold medal match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition between Finland and Russia's Olympic Committee, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian Olympic Committee's Dmitrii Voronkov arrives for the men's gold medal match of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games ice hockey competition between Finland and Russia's Olympic Committee, at the National Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP) (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jackets signed one of their top center prospects this afternoon, bringing Dmitri Voronkov in on a two year entry level contract. The Russian center will make his way to North America at some point over the summer, in preparation for fall training camp.

Voronkov isn’t the most highly skilled center prospect in the CBJ system, but he’s a really good one. At 6’4″ and nearly 200 pounds, he plays a heavy game that revolves around getting to the tough areas of the ice, throwing his body around, and generating offense with his size and strength.

We had him as the 9th rated prospect in the organization just last week, but make no mistake: I think this guy has a bright future in the NHL. In fact, the only reason he isn’t higher on our list, is because he has somewhat limited upside offensively. But, he’s NHL ready, and should be in serious contention for a roster spot this fall.

While he hasn’t yet shown serious high-end skill or scoring upside, this is the kind of meat and potatoes player that teams desperately need in their lineup. Voronkov will take on whatever assignment is thrown at him and he works hard on both sides of the puck. Ultimately, I think he can be a solid bottom-six contributor for this team, who will keep opposing teams honest by being a horse on the puck defensively, with just enough skill to chip in some points.

He will bring toughness to the lineup as well – he’s been known to drop the mitts in the KHL if need be, and does a fair job of holding his own in that regard. This is a player we’ve been monitoring for several years, since he was taken in the fourth round (#114 overall) at the 2019 NHL Draft. It will be exciting to see him on north American ice.

BEIJING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 18: Dmitri Voronkov #10 of Team ROC checks Christian Folin #2 of Team Sweden in the third period during the Men’s Ice Hockey Playoff Semifinal match between Team ROC and Team Sweden on Day 14 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Indoor Stadium on February 18, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 18: Dmitri Voronkov #10 of Team ROC checks Christian Folin #2 of Team Sweden in the third period during the Men’s Ice Hockey Playoff Semifinal match between Team ROC and Team Sweden on Day 14 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Indoor Stadium on February 18, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

While I don’t think he will have the same scoring impact as Kirill Marchenko did after coming over this season, I’m interested to see how he carves out a role for this team. The bottom-six here is pretty solid all things considered, so if Dmitri makes the team it will be because he’s standing out. HIs signing should create some strong battles at training camp, which can only make this team stronger.

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