Kirill Dolzhenkov – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Kirill Dolzhenkov

2021-22 Team: Krasnaya Armiya Moskva – Minor Hockey League (MHL)
Date of Birth: Apr. 20, 2004
Place of Birth: Moskva, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-6 Wt: 236 lbs
Shoots: L
Position: Forward
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

When it comes to can’t-miss prospects at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, there are few as striking as Kirill Dolzhenkov. The 18-year-old clocks in at a towering 6-foot-6, 236 pounds, and is one of the largest players available at this year’s draft.

On the ice, Dolzhenkov still has a lot to learn about how to utilize his size, but there are plenty of positives to build upon. While playing in the MHL, which is part of the Russian Junior system, he has shown solid offensive instincts along with a great shot. This translated to 14 goals and 38 assists in 28 games played during the 2021-22 season.

Related: THW’s 2022 NHL Draft Guide

While that’s a great base to build upon, Dolzhenkov still has questions about some of his defensive fundamentals, decision-making, skating, and use of his size. If he is drafted by the right franchise and given the time to grow into his frame both physically and mentally, he could become one of the most dominant players in this class.

Other THW Draft Profiles

Kirill Dolzhenkov – NHL Draft Projection

As they say, you can’t teach size. Given his massive potential, Dolzhenkov will absolutely hear his name called at the 2022 NHL Draft, even if there are some rightful questions about how he utilizes his big body.

Kirill Dolzhenkov Team Russia
As one of the biggest players in the 2022 NHL Draft, Kirill Dolzhenkov will likely find many suitors interested in his huge frame and NHL potential. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)

Where he is drafted will depend on how much NHL general managers fall in love with his potential upside. On paper, he would make sense in that late third to the early fourth-round range, as teams are more willing to take a chance on a project at that point in the draft.

However, given the potential upside he could bring, it’s also just as likely that Dolzhenkov ends up higher in the draft than expected, either in the late second to the early third round. That would be a bit of a risk at that point, but if a general manager believes they can develop him, it could end up being one of the steals of 2022.

Quotables

He (Dolzhenkov) dominates along the boards and can make intelligent plays in tough situations by stickhandling his way through layers of coverage. Dolzhenkov can really let the puck rip as well with a powerful wrist shot or a dangerous one-timer. However, he mostly intrigued me as a playmaker. His anticipation of play and ability to hang onto the puck allows him to draw coverage and open space for his teammates. Unfortunately, one of his biggest weaknesses is his passing ability. Way too often, I liked the idea but the execution was not there.

Jake Janso(From Kirill Dolzhenkov Game Report, FCHockey, Feb. 13 2022)

Dolzhenkov is a massive winger who combines his blend of size, strength, and puck control to create in the offensive zone. The standout aspect of Dolzhenkov’s game is his how he’s able to leverage his size and reach to protect pucks from opposing checkers… In future viewings, I would like to see much more consistent effort out of Dolzhenkov on top of improvements to his overall mobility, and is currently a player I would only be interested in in the back half of the 2022 NHL Draft solely for his intriguing blend of size and skill.

Brandon Holmes (From Kirill Dolzhenkov Game Report, FCHockey, Mar. 27 2022)

Dolzhenkov is used on the penalty kill for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (of the MHL) and his size and reach really help him take up valuable space on the penalty kill. Dolzhenkov is not an aggressive player, he actually leans more on being a skilled player with his reach and shot being his best two attributes. Because of his pure size, hitting and battling in front of the net come easy to Dolzhenkov. He has some pretty good hands…

Chris Faber – canucksarmy.com

Strengths 

  • Massive, undeniable size
  • Strong on his skates
  • Strong shot and offensive instincts
  • Reach

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

While he has size, Dolzhenkov has to learn how to utilize it in all aspects of his game. While he plays hard in the offensive zones, he can float in his own, exposing his mediocre skating ability. In order to find a place in professional hockey, he will have to raise his overall defensive game and learn to utilize his frame better.

NHL Potential

It takes more than raw size to reach the NHL. Dolzhenkov may have the shot and build of a future NHL’er, but he will have to go a long way in developing the defensive aspects of his game along with his overall skating ability. If he is willing to play in the America Hockey League for a few seasons, that could showcase how well he can translate his game plan to North American ice, which may benefit his skillset overall.

So, Dolzhenkov will be a project for whoever selects him. However, if he makes it to the NHL, he could be a player who becomes a franchise face who dominates the league for years.

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk- 4/5, Reward 5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense – 8/10, Defense – 9/10

Media

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Kirill Dolzhenkov Statistics


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