Weekly Prospects Watch - Edition 2
RussianProspect.com presents a selection of the best junior players of the week:
LA Kings' prospect Maxim Kitsyn finally recovered from his elbow injury and played his first KHL game of the season and had an assist during the 3-4 OT defeat to Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg. Kitsyn's line also allowed two goals and thus he finished the game with a -1 in the +/- column. But the important is that he's back in the KHL as he needs to get some progress and rebound back from a disappointing 2009-10 campaign.
Evgeny Kuznetsov too is back from an injury, even if it was less serious than the Kitsyn's one. His return has been less impressive, with a no points, -2 performance. The Caps' draftee skated in the team's fourth line, opposite to his usual spot in the top six. But he'll surely return there once he'll have more game practice.
Vladimir Tarasenko had a good week as he scored against Amur in the first game, realized the game-winning shoot-out the day after against Metallurg Novokuznetsk and gave an assist during the 3-1 defeat to Barys Astana. This was a solid week for Tarasenko, which is having a good season so far.
Since his move to Yugra, Kirill Petrov started producing at good pace. He's a valuable weapon for his team during the powerplays as so far he had three assists in four games, all playing with his team on the powerplay. Petrov also finally got a regular KHL spot, something that he didn't have with Ak Bars Kazan. He's playing now around 13 minutes a night, with constant powerplay minutes.
The fast-skating, 19 years old winger had three good games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk this week. Playing an average of about ten minutes a game Zdunov had an assist in sunday's win over Barys Astana. He also finished the week with a +1 rating and, on top of that, he was named KHL rookie of the week.
The former QMJHL player, who also skated in an Edmonton Oilers camp, returned to Russia this summer and is now the captain of the MHL team Belye Medvedi, Traktor Chelyabinsk's junior team. In last week's two games Kostromitin scored four points, one goal and three assists, finishing +2. If he keeps on playing this way a call up to the KHL might be a question of time.
After seven games, Nail Yakupov is the top-scoring rookie in the OHL and the third overall top scorer with 13 points in seven games, with five goals and eight assists. In spite of Yakupov's strong performances, the Sarnia Sting are struggling and collected only seven points so far.