Vancouver Canucks of Tomorrow is assessing every prospect in the Canucks system and what they are projecting to be in the future. We’ll be looking at the strengths and weaknesses of their game, as well as what the future holds for them if and when they advance through the Vancouver organization. Today, we feature Kirill Kudryavtsev, who will play this week at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton.
Position: Left-shot defenceman
How Acquired: Drafted, 7th-round, 208th-overall, 2022
2021-22 Stats: (GP-G-A-PTS) 68-5-34-39, 10 PIM (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
Contract Status: No contract. Canucks hold rights until June 1, 2024
Anticipated 2022-23 Team: Sault Ste. Marie
Sneaky good and surprisingly creative, not a bad first North American impression in 2021-’22 for the Vancouver Canucks 2022 7th-rounder from Yaroslavl, Russia. Kudryavtsev moved pucks effectively and played solid minutes for the Soo Greyhounds in the Ontario Hockey League.
His transition to the small ice was rather seamless, earning immediate top-four minutes and making his presence felt on the scoresheet. With 39 points (5-34-39), the Russian defender finished third among rookie defenders league-wide.
That according to Dave Hall of Dobber Prospects.
It would seem consistent compete-level could be an issue for now as this teenager matures mentally and physically, although he’s already a decent size at 6-foot, 200 pounds. He’ll add strength to go with his two-way skating game that has upside.
Kudryavtsev managed to put up points in all of his international junior venues up until now, whether it’s was playing for Russia in Under-16 tournaments, in the junior leagues back home, or at the 2021 Under-18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He helped his team win that four-team summer tourney by chipping in a goal and an assist in five games.
Fans will get an opportunity to see Kudryavtsev play this weekend in Penticton at the Young Stars Classic. He’ll return to the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League for a second season.
“He’s worked himself well up into their line-up this year,” Vancouver Canucks Director of Amateur Scouting Todd Harvey said at the NHL Draft. “He was a big part of it and next year he’s going to be an even bigger part of it. Good puck moving defenceman.”
Whether it’s the first round or the last, teams try to select the best player available regardless of position. Harvey pointed out that the Canucks had a very good feel for this player and were excited to get him where they got him.
It will be a patient development path, but there might be a pleasant surprise waiting in Kudryavtsev.