The Toronto Maple Leafs have gone off the board at 31st overall, selecting soon-to-be 20-year-old 6’4 Russian right winger Yegor Korshkov with the first pick on day two of the 2016 NHL Draft.

The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl forward went undrafted last June but had an impressive showing at the 2016 World Juniors for Team Russia, leading the team with eight points in seven games in addition to 19 points in 15 playoff games in the Russian junior league (MHL) with Loko Yoroslavl after spending the regular season season in the KHL. This pick comes at the recommendation of Evgeny Namestnikov, a scouting consultant for the Leafs over in Russia. Namestnikov provided the intel leading to the Leafs‘ signing of Nikita Soshnikov at the end of the 2014-15 season having coached Soshnikov with Atlant.

Coming out of Europe (and also turning 20), Korshkov would be eligible to join the Toronto Marlies, but it looks as though he will stay in the KHL for the upcoming season. This is certainly a confident move taking a 20-year-old player — who may have been available a little later on in the draft — but he turned the heads of NHL scouts at the World Juniors and has played in the KHL since the age of 18. In drafting a third-time eligible this high, the Maple Leafs have broken from conventional draft thinking here with pick #31.

Relevant read: On Lou Lamoriello and Brendan Shanahan’s Russian network.

Yegor Korshkov Rankings

  • Ranked #118 by
  • Ranked #43 by ISS Hockey
  • Ranked #102 by Future Considerations
  • Ranked #63 by McKeen’s Hockey
  • Ranked #7 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)

Yegor Korshkov Scouting Report

Courtesy of the 2016 NHL Draft Black Book

Korshkov is a forward prospect eligible for the third time for the NHL Entry Draft. Last year he split time between MHL and KHL, while this year he doubled his KHL appearances, logging 45 games and scoring 12 points before going back to his junior team for the playoffs, leading it to the title. Korshkov also made Russia’s WJC squad and was one of their better performers in that tournament.

Korshkov is a skilled winger who however excels playing a grinding game that can wear the opposition down. He has developed terrific puck protection skills and he can keep possession in the corners using his large frame to shield it. His ability to pin the play into other teams’ end is something that can be valuable and he could fit on any team that likes to play a puck-possession game and focus on keeping it in the offensive zone. Yegor has also shown he can drive the puck to the net from down low, with the ability to score from up close in scrambles. But he has poise as well and can wait for the play to develop before hitting teammates with accurate passes. He has improved his physical game, but as of now Korshkov is not the kind of forward that grinds down defensemen by regularly finishing his checks, he does that by keeping possession for extended periods of time instead.

Korshkov can be a dangerous player in transition as well if given room, and has been a threat on the penalty kill at the junior level for that reason. He is a good skater with good top speed and at 6-foot-4 he can carry the puck up through the ice using his very good puck control, reach and puck protection to find a way through the opposite blueline. The big ice definitely helps his game in the neutral zone and on North American rinks he would need to become quicker in his executions and even more so in his reactions to plays. Yegor has clearly improved his compete level over the last couple of seasons, but will still need to become smarter and more effective in puck battles, he can’t rely on puck protection until he does get full possession. He has good power on his wrist shot but we would have liked to see him capitalize more often on his chances.

Korshkov brings intriguing tools and the way his game has been evolving he might as well become an option for a bottom six role. That, along with his performance at the WJC, should give him better chances on the draft table this time around.

Yegor Korshkov Statistics

 2011-12 Barys Astana-2 Kazakhstan326101622-44|
 2012-13 Lokomotiv-2004 Yaroslavl U17  Russia U173322254760|
 2013-14 Loko Yaroslavl MHL431210222220| Playoffs70116
 Russia U18 WJC-18510140|
 Russia U18 (all) International-Jr133254|
 2014-15 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL241234-1| Playoffs00000
 Loko Yaroslavl MHL231315281814| Playoffs14581310
 Russia U20 (all) International-Jr704412|
 2015-16 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL416612231| Playoffs40000-2 
 Loko Yaroslavl MHL424663| Playoffs159101910
 Russia U20 WJC-207268164|
 Russia U20 (all) International-Jr15471122|
 2016-17 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL-----|

Yegor Korshkov Video