For today’s prospect update, we have a trio of updates surrounding prospects from Belarus. Not something you see every day. The Philadelphia Flyers loaned a goaltending prospect to the Belarusian Extraliga, a Florida Panthers’ prospect leaves the OHL for the KHL, and the New Jersey Devils loan a Swedish prospect to the HockeyAllsvenskan.
Devils Loan Boqvist To Sweden
The Devils have loaned forward prospect Jesper Boqvist to Timra IK in the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden for the start of their 2020-21 season. Drafted 36th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he split the 2019-20 season between the NHL and American Hockey League.
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In the AHL, he amassed eight goals and 11 points in 19 games played for the Binghamton Devils. In the NHL, he managed to put up four goals in 35 games played. He scored his first NHL goal on Nov. 26 against the Minnesota Wild. It was his first season playing in North America.
Boqvist has spent time playing for Timra IK in the past, playing part of the 2016-17 season on loan with the team. His most recent stint in Sweden was during the 2018-19 season with Brynäs IF. He amassed 13 goals and 35 points in 51 games played. He will be able to return for training camp and will be eligible to play in the NHL during the 2020-21 season.
Flyers Loan Ustimenko To Belarus
The Flyers have loaned Belarusian goaltender Kirill Ustimenko to HC Gomel in the Belarusian Extraliga. Drafted 80th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the majority of the 2019-20 season in the ECHL with the Reading Royals. In 31 games played, he posted a .919 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.40 goals-against average (GAA). He also played five games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL, where he posted a .889 SV% and a 3.84 GAA. It was Ustimenko’s first season in North America after coming over from Russia.
It’ll be a familiar destination for the Belarus native, as he was born in Gomel, Belarus. While the competition may be a step down from what he was facing last season, it’ll be a good chance for him to get some game time before the start of the 2020-21 AHL and ECHL seasons.
Kolyachonok Out, Kuzmin In For Firebirds
Panthers’ prospect Vladislav Kolyachonok has decided to opt-out of playing for the Flint Firebirds in the Ontario Hockey League this season in favor of a move to his hometown team in Belarus, the Dinamo Minsk in the KHL. Drafted 52nd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season playing in the OHL with Flint. He amassed 12 goals and 33 points in 53 games played. He finished ninth in team scoring and second among defenseman, trailing only Riley McCourt.
In a press release by the team, general manager Barclay Branch had this to say about the situation.
After two successful seasons of developing in Flint, Vladislav has now been able to earn an NHL contract and now a KHL contract too. It’s a testament to his hard work and dedication to the game. We’d like to thank Vladislav and his family for their contributions to the Firebirds’ organization and wish them success moving forward
Continuing the trend of Belarusian prospects, the Firebirds have received a commitment from defenseman Dmitry Kuzmin. He was selected 46th overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. A native of Kholstovo, Belarus, Kuzmin played for the Belarus Under-18 National Team and Belarus Under-20 National Team during the 2019-20 season. He has already played nine games for Dinamo-Molodechno in the Belarusian Extraliga this season, posting one assist.
Kuzmin had this to say about joining the Firebirds in a press release from the team.
“I am very proud to now be part of the Firebirds organization. Since I have been drafted, they have gone above and beyond to make my family and I welcomed. They have been first class and have done a good job developing Belarusians. I look forward to arriving in Flint soon to begin the season.”
He’ll be the third Belarus native to play for the Firebirds in the past two seasons, joining Vladislav Kolyachonok and Evgeniy Oksentyuk.