Islanders: Who is Anatoly Golyshev?

During an interview with Sport Express Russia, Anatoly Golyshev, the New York Islanders’ fourth-round pick from the 2016 NHL Draft said that he is looking for a house on Long Island. His contract with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg has a two-year option after next season, and it seems as if Golyshev will make the jump to the NHL. The Islanders need as much talent as they can get, but fans don’t know much about the 25-year-old, so who is Anatoly Golyshev?

What Fans Can Expect

In the KHL, they play a shorter 62-game season. Based on point per game models, that puts Golyshev at about 45 points a season, if he played every game. If he played in the NHL and we measured his points per game with KHL numbers, you would expect almost a 60-point player. Unfortunately for Islanders fans, that’s not how that works.

According to the hockey nerds at Abstract Hockey, one point in the KHL translates to about .80 points in the NHL. By looking at this model, Golyshev would be around a 40-point guy, good enough for likely seventh on the team (if the season weren’t suspended). He’s a proven goalscorer in Russia, averaging around 20 goals a season.

Point Translation Model from Absract Hockey – 2017-18

If Golyshev plays according to the model, a 40-point player would be perfect for the Islanders’ third-line. This team lacks offensive skill and Golyshev would provide that. By sliding Golyshev in with J.G. Pageau, the two could complement each other with a mix of goal-scoring and play-making. Add in a Josh Bailey or Anthony Beauvillier, and then we’re getting somewhere.

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A team that wants to contend for the Stanley Cup cannot send out a Michael Dal Colle or Leo Komarov on a nightly basis. If the team were to stay the exact same, the Islanders would have one slot left in their forward core. However, I predict that Derick Brassard will leave Long Island this offseason, which would open up two spots in the lineup. Golyshev is expected to come to North America the season after next and considering he’s still a question mark, Lou Lamoriello will need to make other moves, especially since the organization’s farm system is mediocre at best.

Will He Make the NHL Right Away?

There are many players that try to jump from the KHL and don’t succeed. However, guys like Artemi Panarin turned the league upside down just a season removed from the ‘K’. There are times where the Abstract Hockey model gets it 100 percent right, but there are always outliers. In recent Islanders’ history, Jan Kovar came to Long Island from Metallurg Magnitogorsk and didn’t make the team out of training camp. I don’t think Golyshev will be another Kovar because he’s much younger and Kovar’s numbers were inflated by his linemates. Also, Golyshev’s game is based on his goal-scoring prowess, while Kovar relied on those around him to make him better. Yet, there will always be that question mark until he comes to North America.

Team Russia Anatoli Golyshev
Anatoli Golyshev of Team Russia (Russia Hockey/

Based on the work of my good friends at Google Translate, Golyshev said in his interview, “This year they called me from Islanders, they were not too impressed with my game at the beginning of the championship, but then their ratings changed.” The Islanders have been keeping tabs on their 25-year-old prospect and like what they see. Lamoriello has seen it all with Russian players from the Ilya Kovalchuk saga to getting Slava Fetisov from the Soviet Union. Based on his history, I trust Lamoriello in judging Russians.

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No one knows what Anatoly Golyshev will become until he joins the Islanders’ training camp in 2021. What we do know is he’s a proven goalscorer at the KHL level, and the Isles certainly need more of that. For a team forced to throw “healthy scratch” players on the ice on a daily basis, more skilled forwards are needed. Could Golyshev be a productive player on Long Island? We’ll soon find out.