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What Road Ahead, Upcoming Year Look Like For Capitals’ Ivan Miroshnichenko



Capitals prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko

Once the Washington Capitals were on the clock, they knew “by far” who the best player available was, and secured an absolute steal. They made their way to the stage quickly, and from Omsk, selected left winger Ivan MIroshnichenko.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Miroshnichenko to get to this point. The 18-year-old, who was a projected top-5 pick and resembles a young Alex Ovechkin, had 10 goals and six assists in 31 games for the VHL’s Omsk Krylia before a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis took him off the ice and to a drop in draft stock. He is now in remission, and NHL Central Scouting director Dan Marr announced in June that he finished treatment and was clear to return to training.

Washington did its due diligence on Miroshnichenko, having its medical team examine his records and weigh risks against the rewards. And, when it came time for the draft in Montreal, the Capitals felt confident in taking the Russian at 20th overall.

“This young man can put the puck in the net… he will do it in the NHL,” assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said, adding, “He can really shoot the puck. He’s got a high hockey IQ, and he’s a competitive player who wants to win. Not afraid to take the puck into those tough areas to score goals, he finishes checks. He plays with some passion.”

“The season went very well for me until I got sick, but I was preparing for [the draft] the entire season,” Miroshnichenko noted. “I played very well and I was expecting to go earlier until I got sick. But obviously, really happy where I went… the last few months have been great. Obviously, before then, it was some challenging times, but when I was in Russia, it was awesome, super.”

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Miroshnichenko has been on the ice about 10 times since completing treatments and has also already made his way to D.C. He took part in the off-ice sessions over the last few days of development camp, and also saw Capital One Arena for the first time and signed autographs for fans on Friday. During the scrimmages where he watched his fellow Washington prospects face off on the ice, he sat alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Alexeyev.

Mahoney said that he is already starting to gain a lot of weight and strength back and is continuing to get healthy.

As for next year, the 6-1, 195-pound winger is currently under contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk until 2024. This is familiar territory for Washington, who faced similar circumstances with Kuznetsov back in 2010. His plan is to return to Russia for the upcoming season and continue to get healthy, regain his strength and get his legs back under him again. That time overseas should serve him well as he can continue to develop his skills and evolve his game while playing against men in the highest-tier league in Russia.

“He has to honor [that deal] and then we’ll go from there,” general manager Brian MacLellan said.

In the end, the Capitals are ready to take their time with the prospect, who will be an integral part to the team’s future.

“Hopefully we can get him out there sooner rather than later, but there’s some uncertainty, we’re working through a whole bunch of things there,” Mahoney said, adding with a smile, “We’ll be patient with him.”

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