2021-22 Team: Omskie Krylia (KHL)
Date of Birth: Feb. 4, 2004
Place of Birth: Ussuriysk, Russia
Weight: 185 lbs
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings: 8th (among EU skaters)
- TSN/Bob McKenzie’s Mid-Season Rankings: 6th
- TSN/Craig Button’s Mid-Season Rankings: 9th
- Sportsnet/Sam Cosentino’s February Rankings: 9th
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 15th
- Andrew Forbes’ January Rankings: 11th
- Matthew Zator’s February Rankings: 12th
- Dobber Prospects Mid-Season Rankings: 15th
- SMAHT Scouting Winter Rankings: 17th
- FC Hockey Rankings: 25th
- Elite Prospects December Rankings: 30th
I’ll start with a bit of discouraging news, Miroshnichenko was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is the same form of cancer that Mario Lemieux battled with mid-way through his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Miroshnichenko has decided to seek treatment in Germany, similarly to Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Rodion Amirov, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. He will step away from hockey this season, and could be out all of next season as well.
On a positive note, his condition is curable, and the recovery rates are promising (around 88%, depending on the extent of the spread). He has expressed interest in continuing to pursue hockey as a career. We wish him the best.
Originally born in Siberia, he moved to Moscow at a young age to play youth hockey. He played for Buran Voronezh, and eventually played for Vityaz Podolsk. Avangard Omsk (of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)) then purchased his rights for ₽700,000 ($9,500 USD) in Nov. 2020.
But earlier in 2020 he signed an agreement to play for the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Muskegon Lumberjacks, but was denied entry to the US. He was also denied entry to Canada at one point, and neither of these denials have been addressed or explained.
He was a standout at the 2021 Under-18 World Junior Championship, with six goals and eight points in seven games, helping Russia to a silver medal. In addition, last summer he captained Russia to a gold medal at the prestigious Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, four goals and nine points in five games.
Based off of the hype from those performances, he was expected to have a huge season in Russia in his first draft eligible year. By all accounts, he has been a slight disappointment, with 10 goals and 16 points in 31 games for Omskie Krylia, the farm team of the KHL’s Avangard Omsk. He’s joined there by Minnesota Wild 2016 draft choice Dmitry Sokolov, who is leading the team in points.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
As a side note, although Miroshnichenko struggled to produce, he was still generating five shot attempts per game. In addition, there is no way for anyone to know how his health issues might have been affecting his performance, so it’s important to take his struggles and shortcomings with a grain of salt. There is still a lot to like about him as a prospect.
Although his rankings vary widely, from sixth to 30th, he has all the tools to become a lethal scorer in the NHL. He has a similar playing style to Alex Ovechkin, although he is not as highly touted as the ‘great eight’.
His strength is his shot, he can unload a wrist shot off the rush in a similar way to the aforementioned Russian. It’s NHL ready, quick, and powerful, and he likes to cut from the left towards the middle and fire it toe-drag style against the grain. It’s hard for goalies to pick up, and he does it so fluidly that they rarely have a chance to square up to him. In addition, he has a powerful one-timer, and you guessed it, he sets up in Ovechkin’s office, around the top of the circle, to use it. Although he isn’t as stagnant with his movement on the power play as Ovechkin, he does like to stay on the left circle, ready to shoot at any moment. Being the powerful scorer that he is, he has found other ways to score. He’s not afraid to set up shop in front of the net, or get to dirty areas to knock in some garbage goals. He has the patience to make an extra move in front to give himself a better angle or opportunity.
Although he is more of a sniper than a playmaker, he is a great passer. He loves to use his backhand down low to make dangerous passes to the slot. He has the ability to make crisp, cross-seam passes to create for his teammates. He looks to use his body to shield and lure defenders towards him to open up passing lanes. He uses the threat of his lethal shot to manipulate defenders, and it would be nice to see him develop and use this facet of his game more often.
His skating might be his most underrated tool. He is a dynamic skater with a powerful and agile stride. He can change directions quickly, forcing defenders into snap decisions that can lead to drawn penalties. He has no trouble keeping his speed while carrying the puck, utilizing crossovers and shifty head movements to keep his opponents off balance. In the offensive zone, he can stop on a dime, and accelerate in the other direction to create space.
Miroshnichenko has an innate ability and drive to hunt and find loose pucks. He’s patient at the net front, and doesn’t venture into overcrowded areas. Instead, he waits for the puck to squirt loose, and pounces with authority. He gets himself open though the neutral zone and attacks with speed and solid support of the puck carrier. He easily finds space in the offensive zone to unleash his one-timer. He has no trouble identifying the most dangerous play, and prefers to keep possession if there aren’t any viable options. He doesn’t force flashy plays even when they seem enticing.
While moving through the neutral zone, Miroshnichenko can easily deke through bodies with speed. He uses his long wingspan, along with head movements and quick cuts to blow by defenders. His hands aren’t really one of his more noticeable strengths; they are average, but he has no puck handling issues and can stick handle quite fluidly. He simply uses his edgework and speed more often to create space and chances. He easily picks up sloppy passes from teammates in his feet and hands and continues his attack seamlessly.
He is the type of player to lead with his passion. He has captained Russian Junior teams, most recently at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He might not end up being the most vocal, but he loves to score and win, and when he does, his celebrations are emphatic. He brings energy to every team he plays for and wills them to victory with his dynamic skills.
In general, he has average defensive instincts. He identifies danger through the neutral zone and uses his speed to cut off attackers and intercept passes. He skates aggressively for loose pucks on both ends of the ice. He gets into shooting lanes and isn’t afraid to block shots. He uses his long wingspan effectively to direct attackers to where he wants them to skate and pass.
The biggest knock on Miroshnichenko is his shift-to-shift effort level and focus. There are times where you forget that he’s playing, which shouldn’t happen for a player as dynamic as he is. While he hustles hard for loose pucks, he can be tentative on the forecheck, preferring to wait for a mistake rather than force one.
This points to another issue, namely that although he has great speed, he doesn’t always use it. There are times where he loops around in the neutral zone, waiting for a pass, instead of circling back and attacking with speed with the rest of the offensive unit. With just average to above average puck skills, he sometimes loses the puck trying to make a one-on-one move, although sometimes his and edgework bails him out. His selfishness with the puck, or rather his preference to shoot, could be considered a drawback, but his shot is so powerful that his selfishness with it is a strength (although he could work on his accuracy).
While his defensive instincts aren’t terrible, this facet of his game is where his lack of effort and focus is the most noticeable. He can be slow to address dangerous plays, sometimes seeming unengaged altogether, even standing still while an opposing player jumps into some open ice for a chance on goal. His patience is a virtue on offense, but waiting around for something to happen on the defensive end is not how to play winning hockey. That being said, defensive I.Q. and developing a consistent effort level are coachable traits, and with a good coach and some hours in the film room, there’s no reason to believe he won’t become more consistent night-in and night-out. Another thing I’d like to see him develop is some more snarl, and for him to be more aggressive with his body on the forecheck. He has the frame for it.
Ivan Miroshnichenko – NHL Draft Projection
As stated earlier, Miroshnichenko has one of the widest ranges of rankings out of the top prospects, with Bob Mckenzie ranking him 6th, and Elite Prospects ranking him 30th. With the recent news of his diagnosis, he could slip to the late first round, possibly landing in the pick 20-25 range. Personally, I think he should be considered in the top 10, and possibly in the top five, due to his NHL-ready skating and lethal shot.
“Miroshnichenko’s shot is quite clearly his best asset as the puck explodes off the end of his stick with deadly accuracy, regardless of which type of shot he is taking. It’s not common for players of Miroshnichenko’s age to be able to beat grown men with their wrist shot, but he is able to do just that.” – Curtis Schwartzkopf, FC Hockey
“Miroshnichenko is loaded with offensive talent and poses a significant threat to the opposition when he has the puck. His shot is probably his most dangerous weapon as he can unload the puck quickly and powerfully. Other than his shot, Miroshnichenko has a strong top speed which allows him to blow by defenders. His hands are another area of strength, often inviting defenders in close before using his vision to find teammates with the ice opened up.” – Zack Szweras, Dobber Prospects
“The right-shot left winger already boasts an NHL-calibre shot and plays a solid two-game way game with no discernible shortcomings in his tool box. He projects as a top two-line pro winger and was outstanding at both the U-18 World Championship in Texas and the Hlinka-Gretzky (U-18) Cup this past summer” – Bob McKenzie, TSN
- Elite shot
- NHL-ready skating
- Underrated playmaking
- Strong offensive instincts
- Projectable frame
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive aggressiveness
If he can improve his consistency of effort, Miroshnichenko will be a bona fide sniper, capable of putting up 40 goals per season at the peak of his career. He will be a constant threat on the power play, and could have a major impact physically, punishing his opponents on the forecheck. Otherwise, he could end up as a solid second line winger, with a similar offensive output to Anders Lee.
Risk – Reward Analysis
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 5/10
Miroshnichenko captained Russia to a gold medal at the 2021 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He also won silver at the 2021 under-18 World Junior Championship.
Ivan Miroshnichenko Statistics
Writer and hockey addict from the GTA, covering the Ottawa Senators. Leafs fan from birth, moved to BC to explore the mountains and find the strength to keep cheering. Love talking prospects, potential, and coaching strategies.