The St. Louis Blues loan one of their top prospects to the KHL in Russia, the Detroit Red Wings loan a former ninth overall pick to Austria, and Edmonton Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie finally finds a home in Sweden for the 2020-21 season.
Blues Loan Kostin to KHL
The St. Louis Blues have loaned Russian winger Klim Kostin to Avangard Omsk in the KHL. Originally drafted 31st overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season playing primarily with the San Antonio Rampage in the American Hockey League. He amassed 13 goals and 30 points in 48 games played. It was the 21-year old’s third season in North America since coming over from Russia. He also made his NHL debut, playing in four games with the Blues and recording his first NHL goal on Nov. 23 against the Nashville Predators.
Kostin will be looking to play a more permanent role with the Blues during the 2020-21 season. Some extra playing time back home should do wonders for his confidence. Avangard Omsk is coached by former Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley. Kostin is expected to return to the team when training camps open.
Red Wings Loan Rasmussen to Austria
The Detroit Red Wings have loaned Canadian forward Michael Rasmussen to the Graz 99ers of the ICEHL in Austria (from ‘Red Wings loan forward Michael Rasmussen to Austrian team,’ Detroit News, 09/23/2020). Originally drafted ninth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season playing for the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He posted 7 goals and 22 points in 35 games played. It was a slight step down for the talented youngster, considering he played 62 games in the NHL during the 2018-19 season, posting 8 goals and 18 points with the Red Wings during that span.
Some have been quick to point out that top prospect for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Marco Rossi, has also been training with the same Austrian team for the offseason. With the Red Wings slated to pick fourth overall, it might be more than just a mere coincidence. Rasmussen will be looking to earn a spot back on the Red Wings roster for the 2020-21 season. He is expected to return to the team when training camps open.
Oilers Loan Lavoie to Vasby IK
In a turn of events, the Edmonton Oilers have now loaned prospect Raphael Lavoie to Vasby IK in HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden. He was originally loaned to Rögle BK in the Swedish Hockey League, but decided to leave after likely not receiving the playing time he expected. Originally drafted 38th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Lavoie amassed 38 goals and 82 points in 55 games played during the 2019-20 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season. He split time between the Halifax Mooseheads and Chicoutimi Saguenéens, playing 30 and 25 games for them, respectively.
It was a solid debut for Lavoie as he picked up two assists in Vasby IK’s 4-1 win over Södertälje SK. He also picked up three minor penalties on the night, which I’m sure he’d like to forget. The Oilers signed Lavoie to an entry-level contract earlier this March. He’s expected to play the entire season in Sweden.
Prospect of the Day – Martin Chromiak
For today’s prospect, we head to the Ontario Hockey League to take a look at Slovakian left-winger Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs. NHL Central Scouting has Chromiak ranked 30th among North American skaters. In his final rankings, THW’s Larry Fisher ranked him 32nd among all players.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Chromiak split the 2019-20 season playing in Slovakia with HK Dukla Trencin and the OHL with the Kingston Frontenacs. It was his first season in North America after being selected second overall in the 2019 CHL Import Draft. In Slovakia, Chromiak amassed five goals and one assist in 32 games played. With Kingston, he managed to put up 11 goals and 33 points in 28 games played. Despite playing so few games, he still finished sixth in team scoring, forming a nice duo with 2022 top prospect Shane Wright.
Chromiak is a natural goalscorer with an exceptionally quick release. He has an accurate and powerful wrist shot and can change the angle of his shot to catch opposition netminders off guard. He’s an aggressive forechecker who isn’t afraid to engage physically or drive to the net. While not one of the top in the class when it comes to skating, Chromiak is still above average thanks to strong lateral agility and edgework.
THW’s own Dayton Reimer had this to say about Chromiak’s partnership with Shane Wright.
At season’s end, Chromiak was one of the hottest draft risers, prompting some to place him as a late first-round pick. However, others have wondered if his production was simply a by-product of having a top junior talent at center. There’s no doubt that Chromiak got a boost from playing with Wright, but the opposite is also true, and the pair complemented each other perfectly. His shot and finishing ability, along with his ability to complete plays at top speed, gave the Frontenacs the final piece for a dangerous top line.
Coming over to North America halfway through the season will ultimately hurt his draft stock for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. If he had spent the entire season in the OHL, he would likely be a lock for the first round. For now, he’s worked his way into the discussion for a late first-round pick or an early second-round selection. It helps that he’s one of the younger players in the draft, having turned 18 in August. He should be a solid middle-six contributor at the NHL level, as long as he shores up the defensive side of his game and works on his skating.