Among all draft-eligible players this year, Ivan Miroschnichenko might have had the worst luck and it wasn’t his fault at all. For reasons out of his control, the gutsy left-winger was originally set to join the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks for his first taste of North American hockey and get more of a profile set up ahead of his draft as one of the top prospects. Instead, he stayed home in Russia and was mostly featured in their version of the AHL, the VHL, for Omskie Krylia.
Also, just to put a cherry on top of some unfortunate stunted development, Miroschnichenko was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma this past year and is set to miss the entire 2022-23 season as he hopes to recover from the disease that has a high survival rate among young people, as grim as that sounds. It is just something that will be looming over just about every scouting report or discussion regarding which team takes him on July 7 this year. Those without a heart will not want their favorite team to draft him because he won’t see the ice for a long stretch of time, in some cold and calculated thought process that the draft just brings out of people.
It’s like separating the art from the artist. It is a difficult and twisting game you can play in your very own mind palace, but maybe we can attempt to talk about Miroschnichenko’s on-ice play while also understanding just the wild year he has had.
BSH 2022 Community Draft Board, No. 12: Ivan Miroshnichenko
Team: Omskie Krylia (VHL)
Statistics: 10 G, 6 A in 31 GP
No. 3 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 13 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)
No. 11 by Dobber Prospects (April)
No. 20 by Wheeler/The Athletic (midseason)
What’s there to like?
Miroschnichenko can score goals and is one of the most natural goalscorers in the entire draft class this year. He has this snappy little quick release to his shots that makes him dangerous and even elusive to the Russian minor-league goaltenders that he’s faced.
It’s not the most powerful shot — he doesn’t rip any twine as he sends rubber over the netminder’s shoulder, but it’s just carefully placed and timed well within his stride that he is able to convert enough chances.
His main playstyle that benefits his straight-ahead acceleration is that north-south forechecking and being able to set up plays and score goals on the rush. There is no real flashiness or anything, but just extremely solid play that can translate into the professional levels easily enough. Good skating, good hands, great shot, good size — all of those top-line qualities that you see in very good wingers.
What’s not to like?
In his short blurb about Miroschnichenko, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler’s main criticism was the teenager’s ability to solve problems on the ice. With the thought that he can make the first play well enough, and has the tools to do that on the teams he has played on, he appears to not “do a good job breaking down the play to think it through.”
Which, fair enough, because we’re not the expert.
It could make sense though. Maybe it’s just not being able to follow-up on plays that go beyond the first shot attempt or cycle of the puck; and that is something that can be at least taught easier than trying to get Matthew Strome to skate in a straight line.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
The Philadelphia Flyers have a lot of prospects on the wing, but it’s not like they have any of that top-end talent that we are all desperately craving. Being in the position that they are in, they simply cannot pass up on a dude just because they have other dudes playing in that same position on the ice. Who cares? Make it work. Whatever.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
They can, but it will take some extreme xenophobia and teams just hating the fact that he’s not going to play hockey for a while — cold and calculated! — enough to not take him in the first round, where he should go on talent alone. Although, that would also mean Miroschnichenko dropping all the way down to the third round, which is unlikely, but crazier things have happened on draft weekend.
We’ll make a new addition to the poll for Monday:
Isaac Howard — LW, U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)/USNTDP Juniors (USHL) — 33 G, 82 P in 60 GP (USDP)/11 G, 37 P in 27 GP (USHL):
Howard’s capable of doing things with the puck on his stick and navigating through holes and traffic like few others in this class. He has been the offensive catalyst for the 2004 age group at the program these last two years (after leading them in scoring last season, he’s challenging for the team lead again this season while leading the group in shots on goal by a wide margin). When he’s in attack mode taking pucks from a standstill into the middle of the ice to create looks, he’s a ton of fun to watch and forces opposing players to reach in on him (which draws a lot of penalties). He’s creative. He tries things (occasionally at the offensive zone blue line that he shouldn’t but gets away with) and usually executes. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Who should be no. 13 on the 2022 BSH Community Draft Board?
This poll is closed
2022 BSH Community Draft Board
1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston (OHL)
2. Juraj Slafkovský — LW, TPS (Liiga)
3. Logan Cooley — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
4. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
5. Matthew Savoie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
6. David Jiricek — D, HC Plzeň (Czechia)
7. Joakim Kemell — W, JYP (Liiga)
8. Conor Geekie — C, Winnipeg (OHL)
9. Frank Nazar — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
T-10. Brad Lambert — C, JYP/Pelicans (Liiga)
T-10. Cutter Gauther — C, NTDP (USDP/USHL)
12. Ivan Miroshnichenko — LW, Omskie Krylia (VHL)