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2022 NHL Draft

Capitals Could Cash In Big With Ivan Miroshnichenko’s High Potential



Capitals draft pick Ivan Miroshnichenko

Ross Mahoney stood in Montreal’s Bell Centre filled with glee.

The first round of the 2022 NHL entry draft had just wrapped, and the Washington Capitals’ assistant general manager could barely contain his excitement after the team scooped up Ivan Miroshnichenko — a Russian winger who many viewed as a top 10 pick — with the 20th overall selection.

“Hoping, fingers were crossed under the table, nobody could see that,” Mahoney said at the draft, recalling his desire for Miroshnichenko to be available at the Capitals’ pick. “You don’t know, especially when you have a player rated as high as we did. I think going into the season he would’ve been rated quite higher in a lot of people’s minds.”

Miroshnichenko, now 19, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals on Monday, hours after terminating his contract with Avangard Omsk of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. His short-term plans are not yet clear, but the team’s brass has high expectations for the long-term.

And it’s easy to see why. 

Last season with Omskie Yastreby of the MHL — Russia’s junior league — Miroshnichenko tallied 10 goals and 4 assists in only 12 games played. He also split time with Omskie Krylia of the Russian second division VHL, where he collected three assists in four games, and with Avangard, scoring three goals across limited action in 23 KHL games.

“This young man can put the puck in the net, not just at his age group but he will do it in the NHL,” Mahoney said.

More miraculous than his numbers at face value is the fact that just months before the start of the 2022-23 season, Miroshnichenko underwent treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma — sidelining him from training for three months. 

Rated as the No. 11 international skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings, he was widely viewed as a top 10 prospect prior to his diagnosis. An evaluation by Smaht Scouting’s Josh Tessler viewed Miroshnichenko as a future second-line forward with a “lethal” shot, but many of his other traits already translate at any level.

“He’s got a high hockey IQ, and he’s competitive,” Mahoney said. “He’s a competitive player. Wants to win, not afraid to take the puck into those tough areas to score goals. Finishes checks. He plays with some passion.”

But still, the potential is too intriguing to ignore, and the Capitals stand to benefit in a big way in the years ahead.

“I wish I could speed up the clock,” Mahoney said with a chuckle. “We have to be patient and allow these younger guys to continue to get stronger and really turn into men. He’s a really, really talented player like I said, who has good leadership and plays hard.”

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