Since the draft, there has been a lot of talk surrounding Montreal Canadiens’ sixth-round pick Alexander Gordin. The reason behind this is that Gordin has been a very solid point producer in Russia’s MHL and VHL.
Although it is a longshot, with proper development, Gordin is someone who could find his way in the NHL someday. Of course, like many sixth-round picks, there is a clear area the forward needs to improve to make an NHL career possible. However, he has some very good skills that could allow him a chance.
Here is why he could potentially make the NHL, as well as why he won’t.
The Positives in Gordin’s Game
Gordin has been lighting the MHL up so far this season scoring seven goals and 15 points in as many games. However, it isn’t about his point totals and more so about his shot. His performance in the MHL earned him a call up to the VHL, the second-best league in Russia. During his time there, he has collected two goals in six games. This is pretty good as it has shown that his game can progress well at another level.
The main reason for all of this, is his shot. Gordin’s shot is clearly way ahead of the rest of his game but often in the sixth round, the players have clear strengths and things that they need to work on. Nonetheless, Gordin has one of the most underrated shots from the 2020 NHL Entry draft.
His success with his shot allowed him to get one KHL game with St. Petersburg-SKA earlier this season. He didn’t get on the scoresheet but it is a good sign that he got a call-up. It is a sign that things will only go up for the 19-year-old. Expect to see him play in the KHL soon on a more consistent basis.
Gordin’s shot is amazing, which was the reason he got drafted as an overager. However as good as his shot is, his skating is almost just as bad. He was one of the worst skaters drafted in his class. The fact is he went undrafted in his first year of eligibility because many teams were afraid his skating would be too much of a liability going forward.
If Gordin wants to make the NHL someday, this should be his main focus to improve, especially as the NHL has gotten faster over the last 10 years. The fact he’s only 19 gives him an opportunity to work on this as many players have fixed their skating around that age.
This is one of the reasons he could be considered a darkhorse to one day play with the Canadiens, as he is young and can still progress a lot more. However, he needs to be willing to work harder than almost anyone to do it.
Expectations for Gordin
Don’t expect Gordin to be in North America any time soon. He will need to work his way through the Russian ranks before he is ready to come over to play in the Habs organization. It could be a scenario where the forward takes five years to come over if he continues to progress. However, it is also possible it just never works out, which would be okay, as a sixth-round pick is not a huge risk. Although, it would be awesome if he one day makes it by improving his skating.
There have been plenty of players in Gordin’s shoes that managed to make it with a longer development curve. A great example is looking at Jake Evans, who spent four years in the NCAA before joining the Canadiens organization and eventually cracking the team’s lineup. Evans had a lot of work to do when drafted and he managed to do it. With that being said, anything can happen in the next five years as we watch Gordin’s development.