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“His arrival will make Carolina a favorite for the Cup.” The NHL is looking forward to the SKA leader

Date: June 18, 2024 Time: 07:43:28

Right now, NHL teams find it profitable to recruit Russian players, as the clubs will own the rights to them in perpetuity. Most of them will develop in the KHL and play with strong opponents, because even after the departure of most of the European legionnaires, our league in America is perceived as number 2. Theoretically, at the age of 24-25 , the player you selected somewhere in the fifth round can shoot, and then can be transported to the United States on win-win terms: an initial one-year contract, which, if necessary, can be “removed” in the NHL.

Carolina is one of the most analytical teams in the NHL and the Hurricanes have already put this trait to use. In the last four drafts, the team has selected 14 players from Russia, with only two picks above the third round. In 2020, one of them was 18-year-old Spartak defender Alexander Nikishin, whom Oleg Znarok was not afraid to include in the team at such a young age.

Four years have passed: during this time, Nikishin managed to show good performance at the Olympic Games, move to SKA in exchange for nine players and score 111 points in two seasons in the new club. Now Carolina fans can’t wait for his contract with SKA to end, and these feelings are illustrated in a post that a Hurricanes fan from the HFBoards forum liked: “Nikishin is the team’s X-factor: he’s the best defenseman . in the KHL and he has not even reached the optimal age to occupy this position. If he comes to the NHL, he can take the place of the first pair of defensemen and become the main player of the majority, then “Carolina” will become the favorite for the Stanley Cup. Yes, expectations are that high!

Alexander Nikishin at the 2022 Olympic Games

Photo: RIA Novosti

“The owner has said more than once that Alexander will be a big star here. In my opinion, he is the strongest hockey player outside of the NHL in general. Nikishin is an extremely proper and simple guy who lives for hockey. He has an incredible mindset and leadership skills. When they cast Sasha, it was my first draft where I was involved in the discussion. He said then that he was willing to shake his hand to get cut if he wasn’t a top player. I think he will be a star in the NHL from the first days,” Carolina scout Oleg Smirnov said in an interview with SE in January. This can be considered the position of the organization as a whole.

What Nikishin said about his performance with the national team a year ago:

Exclusive

“The creation of Russia 25 is an interesting idea. “This team should have appeared even earlier.”

Sergei Gonchar, who works in the Vancouver system and coached Nikishin at the Olympics, also added his words: “Mobile for his size, skates well, excellent physical characteristics. Everything is in his hands. It is clear that hockey in the NHL is something different and I hope he adapts quickly to that. Maybe it’s wrong to say this, but he’s so good that in the KHL it’s already too easy for him in some games.” However, our experts can be quite biased: what do they say abroad?

Even before the start of the season, The Athletic included Nikishin among the five best players in the world who do not play in the NHL. “At 20 years old he shows unprecedented offensive productivity in the KHL. He’s big, plays hard and wins most fights. “To select a player like that in the third round of the modern era is an extraordinary achievement,” site writer Allan Mitchell wrote.

Another writer for The Athletic, Scott Wheeler, also considers the Russian defender to be Carolina’s best young player: “I like the way he reads the game and blocks passing lanes, plays strong defense, both with equal strength as in minority. Nikishin’s style is characterized by confidence and calm; I believed in his attacking abilities immediately after the draft. He meets most of the requirements that coaches impose on players and, if he arrives, he should confidently take a place in the first two pairs.

In February, TSN insider and former Calgary general manager Craig Button gave his assessment of the prospects; However, his SKA defender lost the championship to MFM’s top scorer, Cutter Gauthier. “He can play both in attack and in the body, he has a great shot: Nikishin is the player who makes the difference. If I were Carolina, I would try to get him as soon as possible and pair him with Brent Burns, since he is a great player who always speeds up the attack.”

Alexander Nikishin

Photo: Alexander Korkka, foto.khl.ru

Therefore, the words of former Carolina general manager Don Waddell after the end of this season are understandable: “We spent more time with this player trying to get him out of Russia than with anyone else… I’m not going to say that the Next time. year everything will be over. We still communicate with the people we need to communicate with. We’ll probably sign him, but we still have to find out if he wants to stay there or not.” I wonder if that’s why Carolina hired former SKA coaching staff member Daniel Bochner to the club.

Nikishin’s value for Carolina was also expressed in the fact that at the deadline he was an untouchable asset: the management was not going to part with him, even if it were possible to get a big star. The transfer of Jake Guentzel, although it did not help the team get through the second round, was a success in this sense: the club did not give up any of the best young players in the organization. The club is looking forward to the player whose contract expires in a year, but SKA is not willing to give him up for now for money.

Well, Carolina itself retained its head coach:

“Carolina” retained its “Kvartalnov”. Six years without end didn’t bother me

Nikishin’s possible path to the Hurricanes team is simplified by the contractual situation at the club. Right now, Carolina doesn’t have a single defenseman under contract through the 2025-26 season, its entire playoff-winning defensive corps hits the market this summer or next, and for a team that typically negotiates hard with its NRAs, it will be difficult to keep them all. This means Nikishin will be able to get an extra opportunity if he moves, and SKA will find it harder to convince the defender to stay in Russia.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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