Based on the rankings and mock drafts, it appears that two leftie defencemen, Jacob Chychrun and Mikhail Sergachev, will likely be available when the Canadiens' turn to pick comes up in June in Buffalo.
I’m really torn between those two, or all the others who are supposed to be in our range really, I can’t develop an arbitrary uninformed man-crush, I want all these prospects on my team.
Something which I’ve heard a couple of times now in reference to Jake Chychrun is the phrase “undisclosed injuries”, which has me intrigued. The whispers are that he played really well despite having all these injuries that would have sidelined a less worthy, less Don-Cherry-approved player. And I immediately move him back up my board. Sure he had trouble making plays and dishing the puck, but that’s understandable, with a torn shoulder labrum or jiggified metacarpalism.
And then I pause, and remember that that’s what we heard about Mikhail Grigorenko, how after a poor draft season when he fell from a potential first overall ranking to the mid-teens, that he’d suffered from an injury, and then mononucleosis for the latter half of the season.
So maybe that’s ‘Agent Draft-ranking Damage Control 101’, as soon as your player falls in the rankings, you float all these undisclosed injuries. As if all these young men didn’t have various ailments playing 70 games of SmashUp Derby hockey.
Meanwhile, a lot of the modulation pundits are making with Mikhail Sergachev have to do with the fact that, as great as his first year in the OHL was, it was also his very first year in North America. And I think that’s an under-appreciated hurdle. Imagine a teenager moving away from home, in a different country, who doesn’t speak the language, adjusts to different food, customs, etc. In spite of this, he’s dominant playing high-level competitive team sports. Amazing.
Paul Maurice was eloquent on this subject, explaining, after coaching one year in the KHL, that he’d never again underestimate the difficulties a Russian player has adapting to life and hockey in North America, after what he went through in Russia, despite having a 24-7 interpreter at his disposal.
So I’ll goose up the kid in my rankings too, also, as well, equally. And he and Jake Chychrun are back where they started.
In the same vein, keep an eye out for Vladimir Kuznetsov, a 6’2″, 215 lbs winger for the Titan in the LHJMQ. First overall pick in the import draft, didn’t quite shoot the lights out with 25 goals, but I was giving him the same ‘first-year Russian’ adjustment factor.
Might be worth a third-round pick if he’s still there, which he might not, given the size and raw talent. An Andrei Kostitsyn-clone, without the steep 10th-overall-pick-in-the-2003-draft price tag.