Home » Sport » In America, they dream of finding another Russian prodigy! Will Demidov be able to outshine even Michkov? | 08/12/2023

In America, they dream of finding another Russian prodigy! Will Demidov be able to outshine even Michkov? | 08/12/2023

Ivan made a big impression in the pre-season.

Source: Sport24

The excitement around Matvey Michkov this season was really great. Scouts called him the best Russian prospect of the last decade, and perhaps the best since Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. No draft prospect matched Michkov’s performance in Sochi, the worst team in the KHL last season. If it were not for his contract situation and other general mysteries surrounding Michkov, he could easily become the second in the draft to Bedard, or even compete for the lead.

But will Michkov’s partner in SKA St. Petersburg Ivan Demidov become even more powerful and intriguing player ahead of the draft?

On the ocean, Demidov has been closely guarded for a long time, although in the current reality it is not easy for the Americans to do this. A junior player getting enough playing time is not uncommon in the KHL preseason. It’s now August, and veterans don’t mind getting a little more time to go.

“Demidov has two goals and four points in four pre-season games, while Ivan played a key role in SKA from the beginning of the test matches. He had eight shots in the game against Avangard Omsk. Demidov received 14 minutes and 20 seconds of average playing time. Born in late 2005, the forward scored 19 goals and 64 points in 44 games last year in the MHL, Russia’s top youth league. It was the best result by a player U18 has ever seen in the history of the league, which surpassed Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Gusev. Yes, Michkov was also behind. At the age of 16, Michkov scored 56 points in 56 matches, so his superiority cannot be underestimated. But for Demidov, he’s the only player in the first draft to break the 60-point mark,” said Stephen Ellis of The Hockey News.

The Americans noticed that Demidov always looked head and shoulders above the rest, although there is no star goalkeeper in the MHL. Special attention to Ivan also attracted by the action of playing in the KHL, where he managed to play two matches.

Demidov and Michkov, playing together, allowed scouts to see how they were progressing. Of course, this is an incorrect comparison, given that Michkov is a year older, but it is clear that he managed to take an “extra step” in the game. There is no doubt that Michkov will have a great season in the KHL. Born 366 days apart, they both go through the SKA system. Michkov’s performance was better in many ways, especially at the international level, where Demidov has little action due to the Russians being banned from international competition.

But Ivan showed that he can handle the toughest competition in the seniors. He always played in the older age groups, dominating the scoreboards almost everywhere he played. The same photo was with Michkov, and, in a sense, Michkov can be a guide for Demidov. Matvey understands how difficult it is to be a promising player in a quality European professional league when viewed by greedy eyes from America.

“Some scouts believe Demidov will be better than Michkov. My opinion? They’re getting closer, but I’m hesitant to draw those conclusions in mid-August. And neither should you. It’s also very easy to overestimate prospects play preseason in the summer when the North American leagues are not even close to training camp. From a stylistic point of view, Demidov has a lot of interesting things. He is very resourceful, has quick hands, is positive on his feet, and make smart decisions with the puck. Demidov beats the players with a specific step that confuses the defender, and his throw is incredibly deceptive in many ways. It will calm you down and think that he will throw high before he hits the goalkeeper between legs,” says Stephen Ellis.

“Demidov has a lot of high-end, promising skills. He can skate, shoot, read the game and all these things at a very high level. Size does not matter. The general “package” of skills is very applicable in the NHL,” was add one of the scouts.

At the moment, Demidov is in the top five candidates, and some believe that he has every chance to challenge McLean Celebrini and Cole Yzerman in the battle for the first place in the general rankings. And interest in Ivan confirms that Russian hockey players are in demand overseas, regardless of the political situation.

Maxim Zamyatin

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