2015 NHL Entry Draft: The Russian Factor

Is there a “Russian Factor” for the Winnipeg Jets? –

This year’s NHL Entry Draft is being talked about as one of the deepest in recent memory.  What is of interest to me is where some of the Russian prospects will be selected.  Will NHL teams take a chance and draft some of these skilled players although they are still playing in Russia, aka the “Russian Factor”.

First of all, I will state that I have only seen a few of these Russian players play and had to rely on scouting reports.  One player that really doesn’t need to be addressed is the Brandon Wheat Kings Ivan Provorov who will be a top ten pick.

Another player a NHL team will most likely draft is Evgeni Svechnikov, who Mitch Kasprick has already profiled on this site.  Christopher Ralph who writes for “The Hockey Writers” website has him going to the Winnipeg Jets at #17 in his latest mock draft.  Some who have seen him play say he has ridiculous upside.

It’s players like Denis Guryanov, Alexander Dergachyov, Vladislav Gavrikov, and goaltender Ilya Samsonov that I will watch with interest to see if NHL teams draft these skilled players.

Center/right-winger, Guryanov has size.  He is listed at 6’3″ and 185 lbs and he is projected to go late in the second round by some hockey writers. Dergachyov is listed at 6’4″ 200 lbs and plays left-wing or center.  He has been called the “Russian” Lawson Crouse!  Christopher Ralph has Winnipeg selecting him with their 47th pick.

Ivan Provorov2

Wheat Kings defenceman Ivan Provorov is a Winnipeg Hockey Talk “Top 10” pick.

Vladislav Gavrikov is a player I watched in the this past World junior tournament.  I was impressed with what I saw from this defenceman.  He was named one of the best defencemen in the tournament and captained the Russian team.  A really good shutdown defenceman in my opinion but is only on a few scout’s lists.  Craig Button (Craig’s List) has him listed number 40 on one of his mock drafts.

Ilya Samsonov is a really highly rated goaltender playing in Russia.  He’s got the size at 6’3″ 200 lbs. and is listed as a skilled poised net minder.  Some scouts have him going high in the second round.  Buffalo might draft him as they are a team who needs goaltending depth.

Nikita Korostelev, a right-winger who played with the Sarnia Sting has size and skill.  He’s 6’1″, 195 lbs and can skate.  Yakov Trenin who played for Gatineau this past season is another strong skating skilled center/left-winger.  Craig Button has these two players ranked at #68 and #69 in his mock draft.  Some scouts have stated that both players need to work on the defensive parts of their game. These players might be drafted sooner than the other Russian players playing in Russia.

I will watch with interest to see if Edmonton will try to draft Vladimir Tkachev, the smallish skilled forward, from the Quebec Remparts.  Edmonton tried to sign him last year as a free agent but he is draft eligible this year.  I also wonder if the Winnipeg Jets will take a chance on a player like Gavrikov?  I know I would if he wasn’t selected by the time the fifth or sixth round rolled around.


The 2015 NHL Entry Draft takes place on Friday 26 (round 1) and Saturday June 27 in Sunrise, Florida.

The Winnipeg Jets currently hold two first-round picks at #17 and #25.  The Jets also hold draft picks in the second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.

What is the Russian Factor?

The “Russian Factor” is a term referring to the decision that NHL teams have to make when they consider drafting Russian born hockey players and the risk associated with that player deciding to sign and play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) instead of staying or choosing to play in the National Hockey League.  If a team were to draft a Russian, who then decides to stay in the KHL, it could be deemed a wasted draft pick or asset.

Video – 3:45

The two reasons for a Russian hockey player to choose playing in the KHL over the NHL is the ability for KHL teams to pay significantly more than the NHL due to the ELC (entry-level contract) in the NHL’s “Collective Bargaining Agreement” and the opportunity to play in their home country.

Alexander Radulov, Alexander Burmistrov, Nikolay Zherdev and Alexander Frolov are some examples of NHL players that chose to play back home in the KHL.



  1. Mitch Kasprick says

    Nice work George on this article … It made me wonder about Jets pick, Pavel Kraskovsky, from last year … he looked good in the Subway Super Series vs the CHL and my first thought was this kid was much better than a 6th rounder, hence the “Russian Factor”.

Blog Stats

  • 182,274 hits