Daniil Karpovich – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Daniil Karpovich

2022-23 Team: Avto Yekaterinburg (MHL)
Date of Birth: Dec. 6, 2004
Place of Birth: Minsk, Belarus
Height: 6-foot-3, Weight: 209 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: Defence
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible


There has been plenty of speculation about defencemen at the 2023 NHL Draft. It seems like it’s a coin flip as to who will be the first selected among David Reinbacher, Axel Sandin Pellikka, and Dmitri Simashev. It’s also unclear how many defencemen will end up being selected in the first round; will a shallower talent pool cause NHL teams to rush to grab the best available, or will they wait longer to draft one despite an organizational need?

Even who should be considered among the top group of defencemen is up for some debate. One player causing some of those problems is Daniil Karpovich. He was one of the best defensemen in Russia’s Junior League (MHL), scoring 10 goals and 35 points in 47 games, finishing fourth in scoring among defensemen league-wide. He was named Defenceman of the Week three times and Defenceman of the Month in October. However, with limited viewing availability, his skill level has been largely a mystery.

Related: The Hockey Writers’ 2023 NHL Draft Guide

From the few clips that can be readily found, it’s clear that Karpovich has a strong shot and he’s not afraid to use it. Only six defencemen scored more goals than he did in 2022-23, all of whom were older than him. But what makes his shot so dangerous is his patience. He will wait near the blue line, watching the play develop, and when a puck sneaks by a teammate, he’s ready to pick it up and fire it back at the goalie.

Karpovich is also a strong defensive player. At 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, he already possesses an NHL-ready frame and he doesn’t shy away from physicality. He also skates well for a bigger player and, combined with a long reach, is hard to beat by opposing forwards looking for a breakout. But what makes him the hardest to play against is his competitiveness. No matter the matchup, he’s determined to get the upper hand and will try to knock the puck free by any means necessary.

The only problem is that Karpovich hasn’t played against any top competitors. His team finished first in the weakest division of the MHL; all but two teams in the division had a negative goal differential. Internationally, he represented Belarus at the U20 World Junior Championship Division 1-A, where he won gold after going undefeated, but the toughest competition the team faced was from Dans Locmelis and Sandis Vilmanis of Latvia, and Karpovich still only scored one goal in five games.

Latest News & Highlights

How Karpovich’s skills will translate to tougher leagues remains a concern of many scouts, but despite the skepticism, he has steadily risen the draft boards. With a well-developed toolkit, there is no question that he has potential, which makes him one of the most intriguing defencemen outside of the top group.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Daniil Karpovich – NHL Draft Projection

Karpovich checks off a lot of boxes that NHL teams love – he’s a big, physical, smooth-skating two-way defenceman who has the drive to win that can’t be taught. That alone could make him a solid third-round pick. But, like many Russian and Belarussian prospects, questions remain on their willingness to come to North America, and if they are willing, how long it will take for them to cross the Atlantic. As a late-round pick, though, he’s certainly worth the risk.


“Karpovich has an NHL defenseman toolkit. He’s 6-foot-3, over 200 pounds already and skates like a pro. He has the mobility to escape pressure and turn pucks up ice at a high level. His defending is solid due to his reach and feet on top of having some physicality in his game. With his club, he showed playmaking and offence, including a hard point shot. He played in the worst division in the MHL though so there are some questions on whether that offence will translate to better competition. If it does, he could be a quality pro but there is a lot of risk on his projection too.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from “2023 NHL Draft ranking: Connor Bedard leads Corey Pronman’s tiers of the top 142 prospects,” The Athletic – 05/30/2023)

“[Karpovich] is a big defender with plenty of NHL tools including his 6-foot-3 frame, a smooth skating stride, and a heavy point shot. Karpovich did play in the weakest division in the MHL so his production can be taken with a grain of salt, but 35 points in 47 MHL games isn’t nothing. He defends well and has a ton of raw potential if he can develop some confidence with the puck and improve his hockey sense a bit.” – Logan Horn, The Hockey Writers

Substack Subscribe to the THW Daily and never miss the best of The Hockey Writers Banner

“Maybe a bit off the radar, but I think Karpovich could be something. He’s a big 6-foot-3, 210-pound blueliner that shined with Avto in the MHL this year. He has produced points everywhere he has gone, and he might even be one of the better skaters above 6-foot-2. He needs to face quality competition, but he already looks like a pro-calibre defenseman. This might be a stretch, but I have a good feeling about the Belarusian defender who may have gone under the radar with his country banned from international play.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff


  • Competitiveness
  • Physicality
  • Hard shot

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Hockey sense
  • Consistency
  • Ability to handle tougher competition

NHL Potential

Right now, Karpovich’s ceiling looks to be as a top-four, two-way defenceman in the NHL. However, few top prospects playing in Russia spend their entire season in the MHL without any call-ups to the KHL. One of the most recent players to do so was Alexander Romanov, who put up seven goals and 14 points in 37 games in 2017-18 before being selected in the second round by the Montreal Canadiens. The hope would be for Karpovich to hit a similar height, but he will have some significant hurdles to overcome to reach that.

Risk-Reward Potential

Risk – 5/5, Reward – 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offence – 6/10, Defense – 6/10

Daniil Karpovich Statistics


Sign up for our free ‘NHL Prospects & Draft Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.