Farjestad is Swedish for Shawinigan

(Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)

All day Friday the hockey newspapers reported Kirill Kabanov was heading to play in Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League (SEL).  After weeks of figuring out what his next step in his career would be, Kabanov contemplated the idea of going to Sweden/QMJHL after not making the New York Islanders squad.  And (as would be expected) reports questioned Kabanov’s commitment to a career in the pros.  His rights were held by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada – formerly the Montreal Juniors – when they selected him in a dispersal draft.  The Armada were pegged to be bottom-feeders in the QMJHL this season, a position Kabanov did not see fit for his development.  Not to mention, playing against men in the SEL as opposed to kids in the QMJHL would be better developmentally, wouldn’t you think?  Read more…

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Nail Yakupov – Let the Hype Begin

The coming out party for Nail Yakupov happened last season.  Solidifying himself as the best player on the Sarnia Sting, the flashy forward posted 101 points, leading all rookies in scoring by a whopping 18 points – the next closest being linemate, Alex Galchenyuk.  The dynamically offensive winger has been the focal point of much hype during the off-season.  Questions were raised: Can he do it again?  Is he a one-hit wonder?  How many points will he score this season?  Will he be the OHL’s best player?  How high will he get drafted?  Is he better than Ovechkin?
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The Russians are Coming

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Sound the sirens!  Run to your shelters!  The Russians are invading!  No, seriously.  In the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 8 Russians were taken.  You look at that number and think, “Hey.  That really isn’t that many.”  And you’d be right in that regard.  However, this is the first time in four years that the number of Russians has increased.  Dont believe me?  Refer to the chart below:

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Dueling Russians

This year’s NHL draft brings about a lot of talent, as it does year after year.  However, the crop of Russian players is not as copious as years past (most noticeably the 2010 NHL Entry Draft).  You will not find the likes of a Burmistrov, Tarasenko, Kuznetsov, Kabanov, Galiev, or Kitsyn.  But a new breed of Russian hockey player is quickly coming into the fold.  The two notables in this year’s draft are, the OHL’s, Vladislav Namestnikov and Alexander Khokhlachev.  Most likely first or second round draft picks, these two Russians have taken the next step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NHL by coming across the ocean from Russia to play in the top junior league in the world.

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