Prospects News & Rumors: Chinakov, Chekhovich & Pinelli

Yegor Chinakov looks set to sign his entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets after winning the KHL Gagarin Cup with Avangard Omsk. Ivan Chekhovich made his NHL debut last night in the San Jose Sharks 3-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Top prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Francesco Pinelli recorded a hat trick for Canada in their 7-0 victory over Switzerland at the IIHF U18 World Championship last night.

Chinakov to Sign With Columbus

The Russian winger finished his rookie KHL season with 10 goals and seven assists for 17 points in 32 games. He also added five goals and two assists for seven points in 21 playoff games. His agency announced yesterday that he plan’s on continuing his career with the Blue Jackets. A contract announcement is likely coming in the near future.

THW’s Brandon Share-Cohen analyzed Chinakov’s potential fit with the Blue Jackets organization and the timeline for his eventual arrival back in October.

It’s hard to imagine this pick will affect the Blue Jackets’ immediate plans in any way. Chinakhov is unlikely to make the jump to the NHL any time soon and because of this, the selection simply adds a player the team was high on to their prospect pool without immediately changing plans. The Blue Jackets should remain a competitive team in the short-term and they’ll have a chance to continue progressing in an upward trajectory if Chinakhov can debunk his pre-draft rankings and live up to his draft position. It’ll certainly be an uphill battle, but nobody ever truly knows how good a player can or will be until they get a chance to prove it at the next level.

Drafted 21st overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets shocked everyone going way off the board and selecting the overage Russian winger. He spent the 2019-20 season in Russia’s junior league, the MHL, where he posted 27 goals and 42 assists for 69 points in 56 games played. He led Omskie Yastreby in scoring and ranked fifth in the entire MHL in total points. He represented Russia at the 2021 World Junior Championship, where he amassed one goal in five games played.

Chekhovich Makes NHL Debut With Sharks

Chekhovich played on the top line with Logan Couture and Rudlof Balcers and played 10:55 of time on ice. He has spent the 2020-21 season with the San Jose Barracuda in the American Hockey League where he’s recorded two goals and five assists for seven points in 17 games played. He began the season on loan in the KHL with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod where he amassed an impressive 17 goals and 17 assists for 34 points in 43 games played. He also had two goals in four playoff games with the team.

Drafted 212th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season as a rookie in the AHL, where he amassed four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 42 games. For him to even get one game in the NHL is a feat in its own right after being drafted so late. He spent his junior career with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he put up 43 goals and 62 assists for 105 points in 66 games played during his final season with the team.

Pinelli Scores Hat Trick For Canada

Pinelli co-leads the tournament in scoring with four goals and three assists for seven points in three games played. He was supposed to return to the Kitchener Rangers this season, but the OHL failed to schedule a season due to Covid-19.

Former THW writer Josh Bell had this to say about Pinelli’s ability in his Top 5 OHL Players to Watch article for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

The nice thing about this forward is his adaptability. He can play down the middle or on the wing, on the top line or in the bottom six. His determined mentality to be successful in all situations was proven this year as he was used in all situations. He knows how to find space so well and he’s very positionally sound in the offensive end. That’s extremely impressive for his age. He has an absolute bomb of a one-timer and as the season went on, he got more and more comfortable using it. He forces turnovers, he makes offensive and defensive plays, and he’s going to be a very exciting player to follow this season.

Pinelli is one of the top forwards available from the OHL in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2019-20 season, he recorded 18 goals and 23 assists for 41 points in 59 games played with the Rangers.