Montreal Canadiens: The Russian Prospect Report

Bogdan Konyushkov (6), a player of the Div. Bobrova hockey...
Bogdan Konyushkov (6), a player of the Div. Bobrova hockey... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens refrained from selecting a Russian prospect during the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft, but Kent Hughes did some work in the later rounds.

The Habs indeed have more quality than quantity in terms of Russian-born prospects, but they have plenty of time to address that. Ivan Demidov or Anton Silayev could be intriguing options, more so Demidov since Silayev is a left-shot defenseman. Anyway, there are five prospects in total for the Canadiens.

Russian Factor

Hughes and Gorton passed on the Russian flavour, in fear of having to wait on a prospect or risking the player not coming over to North America at all. But the risk-taking prospects in the later rounds proved too intriguing for Hughes. And the Habs might just find themselves a future NHL roster talent, especially with the first player discussed in the report below.

Bogdan Konyushkov

Konyushkov was Hughes's 110 overall selection at the 2023 Draft, and he has done nothing short of impressing everyone who has watched him in the KHL. With Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, the 20-year-old Penza, Russia native has played 40 games, averaging half a point per game. He was an overager, but his play against Russia's best professional hockey players could prove him becoming a draft gem.

Yevgeni Volokhin

Volokhin was the third goaltender off the board for Hughes, after the Habs GM, selected Jacob Fowler and Quentin Miller. The Habs fifth-round pick has played his draft plus one season in the MHL, which is essentially what the AHL is to the NHL. Goalies take much longer, but he has put together a solid start to his season, posting an 11-2-4 record with two shutouts.

Alexander Gordin

Gordin was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 draft by Marc Bergevin. The 22-year-old is playing his 2023-24 season in the VHL with Ryazan-VDV, after spending much of the last three seasons bouncing up and down between the KHL and VHL. Through 34 games, the left-shot winger has 23 points (11 goals & 12 assists)

Dmitri Kostenko

Kostenko was a third-round selection, during Bergevin's final draft in 2021. The 6'1" 187 lbs right shot defender, was selected in an attempt to shore up the Habs blueline prospect talent. Kostenko's 2023-24 season has seen him in the VHL, his last four games have come with Yugra Khant-Mansiysk, after playing his first 20 games with Khimik Voskresensk. Through 24 games, Kostenko has six goals and nine points.

Daniil Sobolev

Sobolev is the only Russian-born prospect who isn't playing overseas, instead opting to learn his craft in the Ontario Hockey League with the Niagra Ice Dogs, after two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires. The 6' 209 lbs St. Petersburg native has played 26 games, scoring seven points, while chipping in 35 penalty minutes. He projects as a depth defenseman, who has the size, physical talent and mobility to become a pillar for Laval.

The Russian report doesn't have a lot to talk about at this point of the year, Konyushkov and Volohkin have been bright spots, however. And the Canadiens could look back to Russia for another player that nobody else notices.