In 2008, many potential superstars were selected by various NHL teams. Such skaters included Drew Doughty, Alexander Pietrangelo and current scoring title holder/sharer, Steven Stamkos. But there was one forward who lasted on the Islanders radar passed the first 30 picks and may end up as a future star for the orange and blue.
Kirill Petrov was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 3rd round with the 73rd overall selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. A current forward on the roster for Ak Bars of the KHL in Russia, Petrov was considered to be a mid-late first round talent, arguably the next best European forward after Nikita Filitov, whom was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the 6th overall pick.
I’m sure many of you are wondering, if he was supposed to go in the first round, why did he drop all the way to the third?
That’s because he has yet to put on an Islanders uniform in the two years that he’s been drafted. Heck, he hasn’t put on one for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, let alone their ECHL affiliate, the Utah Grizzlies. He is smack in the middle of a contract that was signed the year he was drafted, forcing many teams to speculate if he would ever make the jump to North America. Being that the Islanders held an abundance of picks in that year’s draft, the scouting staff and management felt that Petrov was worth the minimal risk of a 3rd round pick, but it still remained to be seen if he would ever be able to leave Russia.
But that question has finally been answered; he is going to be joining the Isles’ rookie camp this summer with every intention of making the big club.
According to Chris Botta’s blog at Islanders Point Blank, Petrov has been given permission by his KHL team to attend the camp, but there hasn’t been any official word if he will be allowed to leave his home country for good. The important thing is that he wants to play for the Islanders; he wants to learn the North American game and hopes to make the Isles roster and completely skip any conditioning in the AHL . Where he plays within the organization is ultimately up to the coaching staff, but the fact that Petrov and his agent are making efforts to bring him to the Island is exciting.
Petrov is a 6’3 205 pound right-winger with a lefty shot who has the potential to be a force as a top-six forward. Hockey’s Future, a web-site entirely devoted to ranking and scouting NHL prospects and draft picks, has Petrov rated as a 7.0 out of 10; a player that may not become an elite level talent, but gifted enough to be a difference maker. It’s important to note that the kid has size and is only 20 years old. That is something that this team has greatly lacked over the past two seasons. A power forward with a goal-scorer’s touch isn’t easy to come by these days, so you can bet that the GM Garth Snow is eager to start Petrov’s development as a North American hockey player as soon as possible.
Hopefully Petrov will not have to flee his country on a boat and unexpectedly end up in Los Angeles, California a week later undetected like Evgeni Malkin. But with that being said, you can bet that the Snow will do whatever he can to bring him over to New York as reasonably as possible.
If the Islanders can get him out of his contract, (and this is just a hunch), I expect the Islanders to go after Alexander Frolov in free agency. Foreign players always seem to feel more comfortable when they are accompanied by their fellow countrymen, and Frolov is a young forward who still has many exceptional years ahead of him. Again, I am just spit-balling here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Isles land a Russian to play…with the Russian.
Here is a YouTube video highlighting Petrov; he’s either scoring the goals or setting up his linemates and he almost does so with ease.