Prospect Profile: Kirill Kabanov (Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL)

Marc Grandmaison/FlickrMarc Grandmaison/FlickrMarc Grandmaison/Flickr


HEIGHT: 6’3″
WEIGHT: 176lbs
POSITION: Right Wing
BORN: July 16, 1992
BIRTHPLACE: Moscow, Russia

Nothing but controversy has surrounded the Moscow-born Russian since becoming drafted number one in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, who currently plays for the Montcom Wildcats.

Despite the controversy, there’s one thing that remains certain: Kirill Kabanov, who has been compared to Ilya Kovalchuk will make any NHL he plays on better.

At 15, Kirill, with his father’s help, negotiated a 5-year deal with HC Spartar Moscow of the Russian Superior League, which included an exit-clause to go to the NHL.  After the fall of the RSL and rise of the KHL, Kabanov, the youngest player yet to play in the league, signed a similar contract to replace the former.

On July 21, 2009 the KHL unilaterally took his NHL exit-clause away, and his playing rights were sold to the Salavat Yulaev Ufa and required a new contract without his NHL opt out.  Kabanov refused and was disqualified to play in the Russian league for three years.

While having contract issues in Russia he was drafted first overall to the QCMHL and petitioned the IIHF to allow him to play in Canada.  The Wildcats season began in September and Kabanov waited for the IIHF to reach a decision while the two teams battled over his playing rights.  After missing the first ten games of the Quebec-based league, the IIHF ruled in his favor and Kabanov became a Wildcat and joined his team in mid October.

Kabanov has international playing experience, competing in 2009 WJC-U18 team where he proved he was the real deal. He was the eighth overall scorer, with 11 points in 7 games, which helped his team bring home a silver medal to Russia.

He was unable to play in the 2010 Under-20 tournament due to a wrist injury that required surgery however is expected back to the Wildcats any day now. With his injury almost behind him Kabanov will be anxious to prove that he is fully recovered and ready to play with the elite in the NHL. Below is a breakdown of Kirill Kabanov’s skill set:

Kirill’s  explosive speed combined with his ability to turn on a dime can make even the best defender look foolish.

The left winger has been described as a sharp shooter who finds the back of the nets on the regular.  Kabanov is a gritty player that thrives in front of the net and is a rebound vacuum, which creates him to be a scoring threat at all times.

Kabanov’s fast hands make him a scoring threat anytime he has the puck.  Whether it’s splitting the defenders or tricking the goalie, the way Kabanov can juggle a puck makes it look like an art form.

While Kabanov is clearly an offensive threat he doesn’t seem to have much presence on the defensive side of the puck.  This will have to improve at the NHL-level.

Kabanov has dedicated his life to hockey, practicing on and off the ice 24/7/365.  He’s a highly skilled player with a competitive intensity that is refreshing.

At 6’3” and only 176 pounds Kabanov needs to put weight on, and in a hurry.  Luckily many of these young players can get strong quickly constant availability of trainers. He’s an exciting, electrifying players that will bring fans to the seat and victories in the win column.  Kabanov has top 5 talent, however due to his Russian background a lot of teams may be hesitant in drafting the could-be superstar.  Questions of leadership and his wrist injury may also drop him on Draft selection day.  Kavinov is NHL ready, however will not be a top 5 Pick.

Draft selection day.  Kavinov is NHL ready, however will not be a top 5 Pick.