The Minnesota Wild could be set to undergo a Russian revolution in the next few years, with a strong quartet of Russian prospects that they’ll be hoping can all graduate to the NHL level.
Russian-born players are always interesting prospects, especially with the advent of the KHL; a league in their home country that doesn’t require learning a new language or facing the challenges of moving across the Atlantic. The Minnesota Wild knowingly took the risk on some of their prospects.
As we see with Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Kovalchuk; the true elite Russian players generally choose to at least give the NHL a shot.
It is obviously though, with a degree of apprehension, that you use a draft pick on a Russian player, as there is far less guarantee than, say, an NCAA or OHL prospect of being willing to re-locate for a shot in the NHL.
The Minnesota Wild will be hoping that they get firm guarantees from their quartet; one is already playing in Canada, one in America, the other two – General Manager, Paul Fenton has personally been in contact with.
Since the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild have picked up a Russian prospect almost every single year, meaning they now have four guys in their system, all developing and hopefully pushing ahead on their development into NHL players.
Some of those players are tied to KHL contracts, which mean that their development is occuring overseas and that the Wild are somewhat limited in when they can bring them on-board. Others are much more local and thus far easier to keep a close watch on.
Leading that pack, in terms of being ready to step onto the main roster is Dmitiri Sokolov, who currently plys his trade with the Minnesota Wild’s minor league affiliate, the Iowa Wild.