Yes, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is acknowledging, NHL teams are feeling very uncertain about the prospect of claiming any Russian prospects during this week’s NHL entry draft.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Yzerman admitted about the difficulty Russia’s war with Ukraine is causing for both NHL teams and young Russian hockey players. “More so, the usual concerns are there and then throw in just the uncertainty of what’s going on in Russia and there’s a little bit of uncertainty of what players can and can’t do?”
Philadelphia Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi documented the situation involving Philadelphia Flyers goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov. He was arrested shortly after signing a contract with the Flyers. The belief is that Fedotov is currently serving in the Russian Navy somewhere near the Arctic Circle.
Other teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins are also weighing the Russian question.
The days of Detroit suiting up a Russian Five are a long-ago memory. Already, there was a dearth of Russians skating in the NHL. Just 29 of them populated NHL rosters during the 2021-22 season. That number could be declining further as the political landscape in Russia continues to change.
“Will they be available now or anytime in the future?” Yzerman wondered about young Russian players. “It’s just another level of uncertainty to the drafting of Russian players.”
Does that mean he’s completely ruling out selecting a Russian in the draft?
“I have no idea,” Yzerman said. “We’re preparing our lists as we normally would, and we’ll continue with the same kind of strategy or plan that we always have.
“Ultimately, we want to draft really good prospects and make sure they’re good kids and go from there.”
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Philadelphia: The brass of the Philadelphia Flyers is seeing 2022 draft prospect Cutter Gauthier as a Jeff Carter type of player.
Pittsburgh: Goaltender Casey DeSmith was signed to a two-year contract by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Washington: There is reportedly interest within the Washington Capitals to acquire center JT Miller from the Vancouver Canucks.
Islanders: Former Red Wings assistant coach Doug Houda has been added to the New York Islanders coaching staff by head coach Lane Lambert.
Florida: Forward Aleksi Heponiemi has signed a new contract with the Florida Panthers.
Colorado: Veteran forward Andrew Cogliano signed a new pact to stay with the Colorado Avalanche.
San Jose: All the San Jose Sharks are saying is give new GM Mike Grier a chance.
Vegas: Are the Vegas Golden Knights running out of time to be able to trade forward William Karlsson for value?
Montreal: Will the Montreal Canadiens continue to tap into the QMJHL for draft choices?
Vancouver: These five Vancouver Canucks are the players most likely to be traded by the team.