The St. Louis Blues drafted Russian defenseman Arseni Koromyslov in the fourth round with the 120th-overall pick of the 2022 NHL Draft on Friday. Koromyslov is expected to play for SKA-Neva St. Petersburg in the VHL, the second-highest professional hockey league in Russia for the 2022-23 season.
Arseni Koromyslov, Defense (Pick No. 120) (6-foot-3, 181 pounds)
Central Scouting Ranking (European): 50th / THW Ranking: 90th (Baracchini)
A left-shot defenseman, Koromyslov should help add to a defensive core that is begging for talented reinforcements with a top-four pairing upside.
Overview: What Koromyslov Does Well
During the 2021 U18 Worlds earlier this season, Koromyslov produced an impressive three points and a plus-10 rating over seven games as the team took the silver medal. The defenseman spent a majority of his 2021-22 season with SKA’s junior MHL club where he registered five goals and 25 points, along with a plus-38 rating over 59 games. While maintaining just under a half-point-per-game pace this year, Koromyslov’s true game stems from his physical, defensive side of the game that resulted in 36 penalty minutes this year. At times, he appears to have a head-hunting aspect to his game and he will drill opponents to the glass by digging a shoulder into skaters with their heads down.
Koromyslov has a lot of upside as a defensive defenseman that can occasionally get on the scoresheet as well. His ability and awareness to coverage when skating backward displays good awareness and coverage, oftentimes actively poke checking with his stick, cutting off passing and shooting lanes to his opposition. He has the ability and tendency to block shots in the defensive zone and pressure his opponents down low making it difficult for them to get their shots off. Over the last few years, he has elevated his game to become more of an effective defensive player taking time and space away from his opposition while continuing and maintaining the same level of offensive production.
Overview: What Koromyslov Needs to Work On
As any defensive defenseman can do, he can get carried away and overdo things physically and take a penalty due to lazy holding or hooking plays. As time moves forward, he will need to grow in his strength and coordination, and continue to develop his offensive awareness if he wishes to continue that part of his game. While Koromyslov is not afraid to lay the body himself, he is the subject of hits himself and will need to build strength to hold off his opponents and prevent injury.
Scout and Draft Analyst Thoughts
“He attacks open ice and uses patience to his advantage to draw defenders to him, make a move to get past, and then get the puck to the net.”EPRinkside.com 2021
“Koromyslov is a two-way defenseman who relies on his positioning and instincts to make his mark in games. His ability to defend the rush stands out the most. He is always certain to shut down passing lanes and then begin making moves on the puck carrier. He can also use his large frame to impose himself on junior opponents, although I’m not sure that aspect of his game can project to higher levels…”Josh Frojelin, FC Hockey.
Koromyslov’s Overall Upside
Koromyslov is still several years away from the NHL stage. He will need to continue to develop and mature into his adult frame over the next few years and likely need some grooming on the smaller North American ice before being thrust into the NHL. His defensive, physical style of play will be his bread and butter moving forward and likely his key to the pro level.
The Blues franchise has multiple options that allow the club the opportunity time to develop their newer prospects. With players like Torey Krug and Scott Perunovich headlining the left side of the defensive pairings, players like Calle Rosen, Matt Kessel, and Tyler Tucker are all in the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) mix for the Springfield Thunderbirds. The team has multiple options in-house that can be utilized, allowing Koromyslov the time to develop properly and not be overwhelmed. Should he continue his development properly and continue his style of play in the NHL, the Blues could have found themselves a very sound second- or third-pairing defenseman in the fourth round.
Mike is a writer for The Hockey Writers and covers the St. Louis Blues since November of 2021. He has a keen love for statistical analysis, prospects, signings, and trades. Follow Mike on Twitter for further Blues or Central division hockey discussions, interview requests, or to provide content info.