While we wait for the majority of hockey leagues in North America to get back to action, the European season is chugging along. A recent top pick by the Vancouver Canucks has been demoted in Russia but has responded well. Also, prospects of the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks will be teammates and a member of the Montreal Canadiens system leaves after taking a big hit.
Podkolzin Back on the Ice
Canucks’ prospect Vasili Podkolzin got off to a hot start for SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He had the primary assist on the team’s first goal of the season and followed that up with a goal of his own two games later. However, in the 15 games that followed, he only recorded two assists and they both came in the same game.
Podkolzin, originally drafted 10th overall by the Canucks in 2019, was a healthy scratch for a couple last week. While he seemed to have lost his scoring touch, his defensive numbers were not very good either. He was on the ice for eight goals against in 10 games after not have a single goal scored against his line in the first eight games of the season.
Eventually, Podkolzin was sent down to the VHL, Russian’s equivalent to the American Hockey League (AHL). He made his 2019-20 debut with SKA-Neva and picked up a primary assist on a power-play goal. He finished the game with three shots on goal in 16:37 of ice time.
Podkolzin previously played in 30 games at the VHL level over the past two seasons. He scored five goals and 13 points during his two stints with SKA-Neva. Both the Canucks and his KHL club are hoping he can find his scoring touch and defensive game while playing in the VHL.
Maple Leafs Loan Der-Arguchintsev to KHL
Staying in Russia, the Maple Leafs announced on Monday that they have loaned another prospect to the KHL. This time it is Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who is heading to play with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod.
Der-Arguchintsev was originally drafted by the Maple Leafs in the third round (76th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry. The young center signed his entry-level deal in September of 2018 and has spent the last four seasons playing for the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He had a career season in 2019-20, with 12 goals and 75 points, in 55 games, playing alongside fellow Maple Leafs’ prospect Nick Robertson. His 63 assists were good for third in the OHL behind recent first-round draft picks Marco Rossi and Cole Perfetti.
This will be the 20-year-old’s first taste of professional hockey. The Maple Leafs did not confirm whether or not he will return to North America for training came or if he will be staying in his native country for the remainder of the season.
Checkhovich Nets First KHL Goal
Ivan Chekhovich will soon be a teammate of Der-Arguchintsev with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. He was recently loaned to the club by the Sharks, who drafted him in the seventh round (212nd overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
The 21-year-old winger scored his first career KHL goal with this laser of a shot on Monday.
He played in 11 AHL games for the San Jose Barracuda following his 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons with Baie-Comeau Drakkar in the Quebec Major Junior League (QMJHL). He had four goals and 13 points during those two brief stints.
Checkhovich officially turned pro in 2019-20 and spent the entire season with the Barracuda. He scored four goals and 12 points in 42 AHL games. Unlike the majority of the loans by NHL clubs, this one is for the entire season, so he will not be returning to North America until possibly in the spring.
Vejdemo Out After Big Hit
Canadiens’ prospect Lukas Vejdemo had a rough weekend over in Sweden. He took this massive hit during Saturday’s HockeyAllsvenskan game with Södertälje SK. He left the game with a reported concussion and did not return to the ice.
The news isn’t great as he has left the team’s current road trip to get further evaluation. The 24-year-old forward has two goals and five points in 10 games this season. He spent the previous two seasons with the Laval Rocket in the AHL, where he scored 22 goals and 38 points in 113 total games.
We will keep you updated on Vejdemo’s status as word comes over from Sweden, as well as all the top prospects playing around the globe.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.