ARLINGTON, V.A. — While injuries are piling up and the going is getting tough for the Washington Capitals, they got some very positive news surrounding one fo their top prospects on Sunday, as Ivan Miroshnichenko returned to game action.
Miroshnichenko received clearance to return to games after going into remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and getting back into the swing of practice. He is starting the season with the MHL’s Omskie Yasterby, a major-junior team that is affiliated with his KHL club, Avangard Omsk. Miroshnichenko is signed with Omsk through 2024.
In a 6-1 loss to Mamonty Yugry on Sunday, Miroshnichenko logged 15:11 minutes of ice time.
“Glad to be back on track,” Miroshnichenko wrote on Instagram.
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The 18-year-old had been pegged as a top-5 talent in the 2022 NHL Draft. However, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in March. He underwent treatment leading up to the draft, and his stock fell. However, the Capitals kept in touch, and assistant general manager Ross Mahoney and the team decided to take a chance on Miroshnichenko at 20th overall, and he may end up being the steal of the draft.
“I remember seeing him in the U18 World Championships in Germany; he was there to do another round of chemo,” 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.”
Miroshnichenko has since put all of his muscle back on and has been making great strides in his recovery. The Russian is a sharp-shooting, crafty and talented forward who plays with strength and speed. He has a wicked shot and also gets to the high-danger areas. Miroshnichenko is also a proven leader and has been in a captain’s role on almost every team he’s been with.
Alex Ovechkin and Washington are excited to have him and to see him making progress.
“Great pick,” Ovechkin said. “He’s one of the young players who can be a superstar.”