Montreal Canadiens: Bogdan Konyushkov Earning High Praise For His KHL Play

Jul 8, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; General view of the Montreal Canadiens table
Jul 8, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CANADA; General view of the Montreal Canadiens table / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens draft pick Bogdan Konyushkov was a surprise choice when he was selected in the fourth round of the 2023 NHL Draft.

The decision was one that most NHL Draft followers didn't see coming because they never heard of the player who was playing in Russia and had been passed over in the two previous drafts before the Habs took him with the 110th overall pick.

A couple of people who were not surprised with the pick were the head coach and general manager of Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo, Konyushkov's KHL team. The head coach is Igor Larionov, as intelligent a hockey mind as there has been in the game and he trusts Konyushkov to play over 23 minutes per game which currently ranks fourth most in the KHL.

Larionov also thinks Konyushkov could have been a contributor to the Canadiens lineup as soon as this season, and the team's general manager stated in a recent interview that he will not hold the player back when he chooses to pursue an NHL opportunity.

Konyushkov does have a contract that runs for two more seasons with Torpedo, so it is expected he will stay in Russia for that long, but there shouldn't be any problems getting him over to Montreal when that contract expires.

Maxim Gafurov is Torpedo's general manager and he spoke about how the team is relying so heavily on the player and not playing games with his development. They are not worried about his NHL interest and are continuing to work with him and giving him all the opportunities he could expect.

This is refreshing considering Matvei Michkov was loaned out to Sochi each of the past two seasons from his regular team which chose not to play him even though he scored at a point per game pace as a teenager in the KHL.

Konyushkov is a skilled defender and tremendous skater. Gafurov mentioned he finds it funny when opposing players try to chase the Canadiens prospect on the ice because he is so quick. agile and elusive that they have no chance to catch up to him.

With the plethora of great young defenders in the Canadiens organization, Konyushkov is yet another option for the future of the blue line. The fact he plays on the right side makes him a bit more of a unique case as he joins Logan Mailloux and Justin Barron as possible fixtures on the right side.

One thing is for certain and that is the Canadiens have about a dozen potential options to play a lot of minutes on this team in about three years on the blue line. Konyushkov, according to his extremely talented and smart head coach is just another in that long line of excellent blue line prospects.