When the Detroit Red Wings were opting to select Russian forward Dmitri Buchelnikov with the 52nd pick of the 2022 NHL entry draft, it was clearly a gamble.
Evidently, if it’s going to be a bet that pays off, the payday will be coming later rather than sooner.
Buchelnikov, 19, is going to be staying in his homeland for at least two more seasons following the current campaign. He was recently signing a two-year contract extension with SKA St. Petersburg that will be keeping Buchelnikov with the KHL club through the conclusion of the 2024-25 season.
According the club’s web page, the pact runs through April 30, 2025.
— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) November 13, 2022
The 6-foot-3, 163-pound forward has seen limited duty with SKA’s senior club in the KHL. Buchelnikov has scored one goal in eight games. He began the 2022-23 season with St. Petersburg’s junior squad, SKA-1946 in the MHL. However, after collecting 4-4-8 numbers in two games, Buchelnikov was quickly promoted to SKA-Neva, their club in the VHL, Russia’s second divison. There, Buchelnikov has collected 6-6-12 totals through 10 games.
Last season, Buchelnikov was accounting for 41-34-75 numbers in 56 games for SKA-1946. That led the team and was good for second in the MHL scoring race. Buchelnikov’s 41 goals were tops in the league.
Buchelnikov won a silver medal with Russian at the 2021 World U18 Championship. He was also part of SKA-1946’s Kharlamov Cup win last season as champions of Russian junior hockey. He accounted for nine goals and five assists in nine playoff games.
In the Russain preseason, Buchelnikov was named top forward at the Sochi tournament.
Red Wings Feel Buchelnikov Was Worth The Gamble
While many in the hockey world were of the opinon that taking Buchelnikov in the second round was a risky move, the Red Wings feel confident in their decision.
“We think we got a very skilled, very smart hockey player,” Detroit director of amateur scouting Kris Draper said. “He just loves to play hockey. That’s what we liked about him. When we were looking at it, we just kind of felt with what we did, how we talked, how we evaluated where he was, he was there on the list because of how he played and we put him as a prospect that we wanted ot bring into our organization.
“When the pick came around we were very comfortable selecting him and bringing him into our prospect pool.”