FanPost

Looking at Sorokin/Golyshev making it to the NHL.

First off, very few KHL/russian players not playing NA are drafted in the recent past since the KHL was started. From the 5yr period to 09-13, only 15 KHL players were drafted. Of those 15 drafted, only 6 are currently playing in the NHL, 40% of them: Tarasenko/Kuznetsov/Nichushkin/Dano/Marchenko.

Farther back, prior to the KHL, in the 5yr period from 04-08, 62 russian playing players in russia were drafted (mostly thanks to 22 being drafted in 04). Of those, only 8 of them, or 13% of them had an NHL career of 200gms or more(roughly 2.5 seasons). 2 obvious ones: Malkin/Ovechkin. 2 non-obvious ones you should know: Grabo/Kulemin.

What does this mean? It means, progress has been made with russian players playing in the NHL after playing junior/professional in Russia upon their draft day. That said, it appears game translating and getting them over there is still a huge problem. 40% is the current rough guesstimate of how many will actually come over and have half a chance at a long nhl career, well Tara/Kuz should no problem, Nich/Marchenko may have trouble sticking (Nich has had a superbumpy road and Marchenko was a 24yr old rookie last season with mediocre bottom pair box cars).

There are obvious reasons for this, including money, family, shorter season, language barrier, and other culture issues "so far". He's talented, but even Kuznetsov and Tarasenko didn't play his first full NHL season until they were 22yrs old, both very talented 1st round picks that took 2-4yrs post draft to just make it over. Golyshev isn't as big or as talented or as highly sought after as either of them, consider that. In conclusion, roughly, we should maybe expect 1 of Sorokin or Golyshev to come over for an nhl tryout eventually, but I wouldn't guess both based on the numbers. Both are intriguing/worrisome for different reasons.

Golyshev being already 21.5yrs old makes it more interesting given he was drafted older, his size is also somewhat a concern for obvious "smaller ice adaption"/"less space-time in the NHL"/"more physicality" reasons amongst other concerns(he has missed KHL games the prior to seasons to last seasons, whether that's healthy scratched or what have you I don't know, but it's there). Wooing an 18yr old for multiple years to come over is 1 thing. Wooing a 21yr old for multiple years from a team paying him a decent amount of money, I assume given his play, to come for ELC money in the NHL and fight for a roster spot won't be easy. Petrov was around half as talented "supposedly" and it was almost impossible to get him over. Just some food for thought.

Sorokin is interesting. I mean, why would he come over for nothing less than a shot at a starter job? He's 21, I know his contract ends soon. But let's be honest. Goalies don't make or earn future money as backups. They probably don't leave their team or money or home country for less than "you are going to be the 1a/1b out of camp". Disregarding that Sorokin may have angle issues or may just bust on NHL ice and against NHL players for now. Looking at our goalie situation right now, Halak has another season after this locked up. Greiss is done after this year if we don't extend him. Now if both Halak and Greiss are at training camp in 2017(say Greiss is extended and Halak isn't moved), why would Sorokin come over, at a "now" 22yrs of age? Say 1 of Halak or Greiss is moved and the other is kept. What are the odds a goalie from the KHL has priority over Berube, and/or outplays in camp the older Gibson, or Williams, or McAdam, or Soderstrom or whoever else is in the system or similarly seasoned? After considering that, the window Sorokin will want to, or if he extends in the KHL: has the ability to, come to the NHL and make it as an NHL starter isn't going to be that expansive right? He's 22 next year, if he re-ups, we may see him at 25yrs old or never see him in an Isles uniform ever.

So yeah, I'm cautiously optimistic about both of our KHL prospects coming over. They are odd situations imo. Not your average "18yr old talented prospect" you're going to plan/hope to join your NHL team by 21/22yrs of age. For us, it's more likely we hope they come before 23yrs of age. Time will tell. Thoughts?

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