Last night was the 2022 NHL Draft. With the 20th pick in the draft, the Capitals selected Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW from Russia. My reaction to the pick...heck yea!
If you read my blog at the start of July, Ivan Miroshnichenko was on my list of three players I would have liked to see the Capitals draft at this position.
Why I Like the Pick:
Value - Ivan Miroshnichenko was once regarded as a sure fire top-10 pick. possibly top-5. However, he was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma back in March of this year. Fortunately, the reports indicate this is the most common form of the disease and it was curable. Miroshnichenko received treatment in Germany after getting diagnosed. From what I have read, the cancer has gone into full remission and he was cleared to resume training in June. He will likely need time to recover from treatment but his overall health is currently on a positive path. Good for him. Like Hendrix Lapierre last year, the Capitals drafted a "high-ceiling" player who fell in the draft. Lapierre continues to look like a steal. If Miroshnichenko maintains his health, the Capitals get an NHL ready player with top-six upside to add to their prospect pool.
Here is the ESPN Reaction to the selection:
Skill - This dude can play! Check out the highlights either from the ESPN clip I embedded above or also here from Wolf Hockey:
Here are various scouting reports notes and notable quotes:
"Opponents shouldn't let him catch up on the boards as they will get rammed and they will get stripped of the puck. Miroshnichenko is a bully on the ice, with some surprising soft skills in his handling and shooting. He battles and then sneaks away from the play to find scoring space"
-EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide
"His elite skating, shot, and size makes him tough to manage for opposing teams"
"Ivan is an elite skater, hits like a truck, and has an unbelievable shot"
-Mike Hamilton (HC) 2020
"Opportunistic goal scorer around the net, but also a terrific shooter that needs little room to maneuver and release"
-Draftin Europe 2019
Honestly, the kid looks and sounds like a mini Ovechkin. You can see how smooth and quick his release from the highlights. I also love the physical element he brings. This is right on brand for the Capitals. Big, skilled, hard-working players. All NHL players a big and skilled but some are just another tier up. The Capitals have a lot of those next tier guys (Ovechkin, Wilson, Mantha, Orlov.) Oshie may only be 6ft 187lbs but he plays big and is a beast in the corners and in the bumper.
Leadership - Not as groundbreaking of a take but Miroshnichenko captained Russia to a gold medal at the 2020 youth Olympic games. Since early in his development, he been seen as a respected leader for the various teams he has played on. Personally, I love to see this. He is leader on the ice and now has personal experience battling and recovering from cancer. The kid is only 18. Talk about a perfect organization for him to land in Washington and all of our Russian players. This is a great foundation and a great support system for him to have as he continues to develop.
If you have about six minutes this is a pretty cool video from assistant general manager Ross Mahoney talking about the pick: