The Washington Capitals got a positive sign on Wednesday, as 2022 first-round selection Ivan Miroschnichenko took the ice with a big smile on his face.
Miroshnichenko is back skating as he continues his recovery and works toward a return to play this season. He waved to the camera as he skated past conditioning coach Sergey Prankevich.
The 18-year-old went 20th in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. He was high on Washington’s radar, as the team was all-in on the talented Russian, who was projected as a top-5 talent but saw his draft stock drop following a diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in March. He went into remission in June.
“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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Prior to his diagnosis, Miroshnichenko had 10 goals and six assists in 31 for Omsk in the VHL, the second-highest tier of pro hockey in Russia.
“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.”
Miroshnichenko did make it to D.C. in mid-July, participating in off-ice sessions at Capitals development camp. However, he did not skate, as he had only skated roughly 10 times since going into remission.
The plan for Miroshnichenko is to remain in Russia and play this season. He is under contract with the KHL’s Avangard Omsk until 2024. There, he will continue his development and get back to full strength. And, in due time, the 6-1, 195-pound winger will be ready to make waves at the NHL level.