2020-21 Team: Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Date of Birth: May 20, 2003
Place of Birth: Moskva, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 125th (EU Skaters)
- FCHockey: 110th
- THW Baracchini’s Final 160 Rankings: No Ranking
- THW Zator’s Final 128 Rankings: No Ranking
- THW Forbes’ Top 128 for May: No Ranking
The NHL draft doesn’t always have a set of twins to choose from. There is often a younger prospect’s older brother or family member in the NHL on their big day, but it’s unusual for twins to become available. The Vancouver Canucks shocked the world by drafting Daniel and Henrik Sedin, second and third overall, in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. Of course, they would go on to have Hall of Fame careers for the Canucks organization. In 2018, Cole Kryiger was drafted 196th overall by the New York Islanders, while his twin brother Christian was selected 201st overall by the Florida Panthers.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
This year, there are another set of twins available, the Nazarov twins, Ilya and Dmitri. Born in Moscow, Russia, the twins have grown up in the Loko Yaroslavl hockey program, where they both have found mild success. This past season, Ilya Nazarov recorded 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 50 games with Loko Yaroslavl of the Junior Hockey League (MHL).
Big Russian winger Ilya Nazarov is definitely a player to watch for the 2021 draft. Watch him here (#69 in red) as he makes a dangerous pass on the rush and then hustles all the way back to help break up an enemy chance. This was all late in a shift too, so his motor looks good pic.twitter.com/73FqYvk4Ds— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) October 15, 2020
Nazarov stands at 6-foot-3, and he uses his large frame to control the game. He is a complete bulldog in front of the net, creating havoc whenever he is there. Furthermore, he has solid hands and good offensive instincts, which has contributed to his success. On the forecheck, he is a hound, and he is not scared to throw hits or force turnovers. Despite his ability to make complete passes, he has a few flaws. Although his skating is good, if he could get stronger and faster, that would only benefit him. A few scouts also think he is “lanky,” so gaining some weight would only benefit him as he develops.
All in all, Nazarov is not the traditional power forward, but he holds a bag of skills that have drawn the scout’s attention. With the right development, he could become a top-six scoring winger in the NHL.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Ilya Nazarov – NHL Draft Projection
Due to his ranking on the NHL’s Central Scouting list, Nazarov will likely be chosen in the fourth or fifth round. He is considered to be a project player.
“One of the Nazarov twins playing for Loko Yaroslavl, Ilya Nazarov plays the game with a passion that jumps off the screen. He is constantly using his large frame to create havoc in front of the net, or to force a turnover in the offensive zone. Additionally, he has shown that he is not bereft of talent, and while he may not be the line-driving power forward that scouts salivate over, there is the potential for Nazarov to grow into a top-six scoring option if his skating can improve a bit.” – Ross Martin, The Draft Analyst
“Nazarov is a player with some specific high-end tools, and those tools work together to give him legitimate NHL potential. He’s a big body at roughly 6-foot-3, but he can really move for his size. He’s not heavy or thick right now, and you can easily see where he can put on some muscle as he develops. First few steps are above average and he can hit a nice top gear.” – Derek Neumeier – (Ilya Nazarov Game Report, FCHockey, Nov. 3, 2020)
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
If Nazarov can improve his skating, I have no doubts that he could be a legitimate goal scorer at the NHL level.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 3/5
Ilya Nazarov Statistics
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been apart of my life. Now, I am looking to get into the sports media world and make it a career. I will be covering the Winnipeg Jets and St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers. Follow along on Twitter @itscrdavies for more hockey content!