Appropriately, in a time of great uncertainty, the first player in our countdown is a player who we're... rather uncertain about. It's 2015 3rd rounder Alexander Dergachyov!
|Rank||Player||DOB||Nationality||Draft Year/Position||Current League||2014 Rank|
||9/27/1996||RUS||2015/74th overall (3rd)||MHL (Russia)||Not Ranked|
It's WAY too easy to make the Alexander Frolov comparisons, and even easier when you watch a compilation of his best moments from the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships. (It's on YouTube, but I'm not linking to it because copyrights.) Aside from the dogged, "if you really want the puck you'll have to take it from me" attitude, both players produced in Russia's second league during their eighteen-year-old season. Frolov put up 39 points in 44 games for Krylja Sovetov Moscow in 2000-01, which was the year after he was drafted but the year in which he was 18 from start to finish. Dergachyov? 39 points in 45 games for SKA-1946 St. Petersburg in the MHL this year, as an 18-year-old. Eerie.
Of course, making Frolov comparisons isn't fair to Dergachyov. For one, Frolov had a goal-scoring pedigree far beyond Dergachyov's, and I wouldn't expect our new Alex to become a 35-goal scorer anytime soon. For another, Frolov was a first round selection, while Dergachyov was never projected as a first-rounder and ended up falling to the 74th pick. And finally: comparing him to LA's most productive Russian forward is just lazy, isn't it?
So without comparisons to past legendary mid-2000s wingers: Alexander Dergachyov is a 6'4" forward. He doesn't really hit people, but he's strong. He's expected to stay in Russia for at least one more year, and his draft+1 year (whether it is played in the MHL or the KHL) should provide at least some indication towards where his ceiling is. And as a reminder, here's what those in the know were saying about him when he was drafted.
He's much more of a wild card than some of the guys ahead of him in our Top 25 Under 25 because he's a few years away, but I'd argue his NHL odds are better than those same guys. He seems tailor-made for a bottom-six spot, with the upside and the shot to exceed that someday. For now, we get to wait and see.