Although neither side is currently willing to confirm this on the record, there are reports in the Russian media that Detroit Red Wings prospect Dmitri Buchelnikov will be going on loan this season from SKA St. Petersburg to KHL rival HC Sochi.
“They say that there is already an agreement that Dmitri Buchelnikov will play for Sochi,” special correspondant Alexey Shevchenko reported on Russian website SportExpress.ru. “There is no official information, therefore the parties do not confirm or deny the rumors.”
SKA is currently 172 million rubles over the KHL’s hard salary cap of 900 million rubles, meaning some players must depart prior to the launch of the regular season. One of those is expected to be Buchelnikov.
— Hockey News Hub (@HockeyNewsHub) August 7, 2023
“SKA has been following the rules since the first day of the KHL’s creation,” SKA St. Petersburg coach Roman Rotenberg guaranteed in an interview with SportExpress.ru. “And this season we will follow the rules, like all other clubs. Now we will look at the pre-season tournaments.
“When the season starts, we will have everything according to the rules.”
Last season, SKA successfully loaned top 2023 NHL entry draft prospect Matvei Michkov to Sochi. Given the additional ice team from playing with a lesser KHL club, Michkov thrived. The right-winger was accounting for 9-11-20 totals in 27 games. The Philadelphia Flyers ended up making Michkov the seventh overall selection of this year’s draft.
There’s hope that a stint in Sochi will work similar wonders for 19-year-old left-winger Buchelnikov. This would be of benefit to both SKA, which has a contract with Buchelnikov through the 2024-25 season, and the Red Wings, who selected him 52nd overall in the 2022 NHL entry draft.
Last season, Buchelnikov got into nine KHL games for SKA, collecting a goal and an assist. He split the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign between SKA 1946 St. Petersburg of the MHL, the Russian junior league and SKA Neva St. Petersburg of the VHL, Russia’s second division. Combined he was producing 20 goals and 40 points in 39 games.
Buchelnikov is currently playing for the Russian under-23 squad in a KHL preseason tournament in Sochi. He was scoring on goal on Monday as they beat Avangard Omsk 4-3 in a shootout. Buchelnikov’s goal was his second of the tourney.
Previously, he was the winner of the shootout competition that was held at the start of the event. Last year, while playing for the Russian under-25 club, Buchelnikov won the voting as the top forward of the Sochi tournament.