When taking Ivan Miroshnichenko 20th overall in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals felt — and still feel — that they got the steal of the draft. And right now, things are looking good on that front as he eyes a return sooner rather than later.
Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the 18-year-old’s “return is getting closer” after going into remission following treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He received the diagnosis in March, which led to a drop in his draft stock. However, Washington did its research, and after consulting with doctors, decided to take a chance on him.
READ MORE ON WHN: Washington Capitals Place John Carlson & 2 More on IR, Call Up Sonny Milano & More
Miroshnichenko received medical clearance to return to skating and working out this summer. Since then, he has put his muscle and weight back on, and got some work out on the ice with his father. Now, he is back practicing with his VHL club Omskie Krylia overseas. It is unclear exactly when he will get back into games.
“I remember seeing him in the U18 World Championships in Germany; he was there to do another round of chemo,” assistant general manager Mahoney said. “He had no hair, his blue jeans looked like they were just sort of hanging on his hips. Didn’t look good at all, and I talked to him there… he’s a really strong character. He went through an awful lot. But I think it speaks volumes of his character and the type of person he is.”
The 6-1, 194-pound winger has great size and skating ability, and he’s a physical player with a terrific shot, too. Miroshnichenko has also been a captain on almost every team he’s been on, which speaks to his leadership ability. Washington sees a lot in him, with even Alex Ovechkin saying he has potential to be a key part of the organization’s future.
“Great pick,” Ovechkin said. “He’s one of the young players who can be a superstar.”
Overall, it’s a great sign for the injury-riddled Capitals, who have several top names on the shelf right now.