Kings Prospect Watch: NCAA & KHL

Keeping up with prospects across the globe!

With all levels of hockey starting to look towards playoffs brackets, it’s a good time to check in on Kings prospects across the globe. Today’s post looks at Kings prospects playing college hockey, as well as a quick look at two players who are currently overseas in Russia. Check back soon for a look at prospects playing junior hockey, as well as another look in at the Ontario Reign.

Steve Johnson, defense (NCAA, University of Minnesota)
Season Stats: 38 games played, 3 goals, 12 assists, 15 points

The normally reliable Golden Gophers struggled this season, going 19-17-2 and losing four times in a row to Penn State, first in two games at the end of their season, and then twice during the Big 10 playoff round. They’re currently waiting to find out where they’re going to fall in the NCAA tournament, but aren’t favorites to win the Frozen Four. As a senior, Johnson’s style seems pretty clear and hasn’t evolved much over his time in college. He’s a defense-first defenseman, and while he put up a college career high in points, that’s still just 15 points. He is one of the leading shot blockers on his team, which should endear him to the front office. The Kings will have to make a decision on signing him or letting him to go free agency soon. (2014, fourth round draft pick)

Mikey Eyssimont, forward (NCAA, St. Cloud State University)
Season Stats: 33 games played, 14 goals, 20 assists, 34 points

One of two Kings prospects named Mikey, Eyssimont just squeaked onto our Top 25 Under 25 list this year on the back of strong performances in his first two college seasons. His junior year has been remarkably consistent; he’s set a new career high in points but has also notched 14 goals in each of his three seasons so far at St. Cloud. Like fellow St. Cloud alum Jonny Brodzinski, Eyssimont loves to shoot the puck. He leads his team with 108 shots this season, is top 10 in Husky history with shots total, and is third in shots per game (3.14; Brodzinski still holds first place). Eyssimont was also just named to the All-NCHC Second Team in recognition of his strong overall season this year. (Last season, he was an honorable mention.) St. Cloud has consistently been one of the best teams in NCAA Division I men’s hockey this season, going 26-6-6 and holding down the top spot in ranking polls. They’re poised to make a run for the Frozen Four, so Eyssimont still has quite a bit of hockey ahead of him. (2016, fifth round draft pick)

Mikey Anderson, defense (NCAA, University of Minnesota-Duluth)
Season Stats: 31 games played, 4 goals, 16 assists, 20 points

UMD freshman Mikey Anderson was a bit of a surprise inclusion on the USA World Juniors squad, where he was mostly utilized as an extra defenseman, but hopefully gained some valuable experience. With 20 points in his freshman year, while he’s still working on rounding out the offensive side of his game, Anderson is actually second in defenseman scoring on his team. Three of his goals have come on the power play, so he’s been seeing some special teams time, too. He’s still a work in progress, but it’s encouraging to see him putting up respectable numbers this early in his college career. (2017, fourth round draft pick)

Cole Hults, defense (NCAA, Penn State)
Season Stats: 36 games played, 3 goals, 17 assists, 20 points

Freshman defenseman Cole Hults took on a bigger role than expected in his debut with Penn State. The Nittany Lions saw a big shake-up on their blue line with the departure of top defenseman Vince Pedrie. Hults stepped in seamlessly and has spent time on the top pairing with senior Erik Autio. With 20 points, Hults (along with Mikey Anderson, discussed above) are in the top 10 in freshman defenseman scoring in the NCAA this season. While he wasn’t selected for the team, Hults’ inclusion in the USA World Juniors selection camp was also a great experience for a player not previously on USA Hockey’s radar. With Autio departing Penn State next year, Hults will be able to take on an even bigger role in a program that’s getting better with each year. (2017, fifth round draft pick)

Alexander Dergachyov, forward (Spartak Moskva, KHL)
Season Stats:  KHL: 36 games played, 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points (2 playoff games, 0 points) | VHL: 2 games played, 0 points

The curious journey of Alexander Dergachyov continues in the KHL. The 6’5”, 21-year old forward struggled for playing time for the past two seasons on a heavily stacked SKA St. Petersburg team. His performance suffered — through 64 KHL games over two seasons, Dergachyov had just five points. He spent time in two different lower-tier leagues as a result. Early in the season this year, he was traded from St. Petersburg to Spartak Moskva, where he’s finally getting more playing time. In the regular season, he averaged 17:12 a game with Moscow, compared to just 10:23 with St. Petersburg. Spartak is currently fighting for a come-back in the playoffs; they’ve been shut out in both matches against CSKA Moskva in a seven-game series. Dergachyov’s KHL contract ends this year, so if there’s any time for the Kings to press to bring him over to North America to better evaluate what they have, now’s the time. (2015, third round draft pick)

Damir Sharipzyanov, defense (Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, KHL)
Season Stats: 54 games played, 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points

Sharipzyanov was signed as an undrafted free agent after two strong seasons playing for the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. The transition to professional North American hockey was a struggle for him, as he bounced between the AHL and ECHL last season, scoring a total of seven points between both leagues, and more frequently winding up as a healthy scratch. He was loaned back to the KHL this season where he has gotten more regular playing time. Sharipzyanov could return to North America as he was only loaned for one season, but the blue line in Ontario is getting increasingly crowded, so it may be likely that he stays in Russia. He will be an RFA after the 2018-19 season, so if he returns to Russia, the Kings should still retain his rights. (2015, free agent)