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Author: Evgeny Belashchenko (RP Exclusive)Date: 07/13/2004
Russians in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft Part 3: Mikhail Yunkov, Denis Parshin and Sergei Ogorodnikov

MIKHAIL YUNKOV – Round 2 (62nd overall by the Washington Capitals)
(RP projection: late second round)
The Washington Capitals used their late second round selection to select Mikhail Yunkov, the young center out of Russia. The move made sense for the Capitals, who lack depth at the center position. Yunkov is a smooth skating defensive expert, who was an imperative, behind the scenes piece of Russia’s most successful ’86 born Radulov – Yunkov – Voloshenko line. He took on most of the defensive responsibility of his line, giving his two offensively minded wingers the room and time to wreak havoc in the opponent’s zone. With that being said, Yunkov does possess a offensive upside. He sees the ice, and distributes the puck very well. The young forward does need to further improve his contributions in the offensive zone and work on the release speed of his wrist shot. It is unlikely that Yunkov will be in the Capitals training camp for at least another couple of seasons. He still has another couple of years left on his contract with the High League (Russia 2) club the Soviet Wings. Yunkov will likely remain with the club for the coming season, continuing to play with Roman Voloshenko (42nd/2004 Minnesota Wild), but moving up from the third to either the second or first line. The two young forwards have played together for many years, enjoying significant success together in Russia and in international competition. They will likely both sign on with or be loaned to a Super League (Russia 1) club next summer. Rumor has it that a Super League club Severstal (Cherpovets) was interested in signing the two young players this summer, but could come up with a financial package to wrestle them away from the Soviet Wings.

DENIS PARSHIN (72nd overall by the Colorado Avalanche)
(RP projection: third round)
Denis Parshin was recognized to be a dark horse of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Immensely skilled and possessing a great vision of the ice, the forward’s biggest weakness is his lack of size, as he stands at only 5’9 and a modest 165 pounds. Despite his lack of size, it was expected that a club with either a lot of picks in the third round, or a club looking to take a chance on a player with the highest upside would take a chance on the diminutive talented player. The latter came true at draft day, as the Colorado Avalanche used one of the NHL club’s first picks in the draft to select Parshin 72nd overall in the 3rd round. While physically a long shot to succeed in the NHL, the young winger has the talent, and equally importantly, the hunger and determination to raise his game to a very high level.

SERGEI OGORDNIKOV (82nd overall by the New York Islanders) (RP projection: third round)
Sergei Ogorodnikov was a bit of an enigma during the 2003-04 season that followed up to the draft. While being highly touted by some scouts, the young forward remained in relative obscurity, not playing on Russia’s international U18 squad. In Russia, Ogorodnikov started the season with Dynamo’s (Moscow) junior squad, but quickly earned a promotion to the Super League club’s (Russia 1) High League (Russia 2) farm team, THK (Tver). The young forward did not stand out for most of the season, but came into his own after his linemate and the club’s top forward Alexander Radulov (#15/2004 Nashville Predators) was recalled by Dynamo. During the late stretch of the season Ogorodnikov was one of the club’s top forwards and his performance raised some eyebrows and merited him an invitation to Russia’s squad that won the gold at the U18 WJC. The young forward did not get much ice time at the tournament, primarily skating on the fourth line, but he did get the opportunity to perform when he took over Malkin’s top line spot, after team Russia’s captain was assessed a match penalty in the semifinals game against Canada. The young center did not look out of place while centering Russia’s top line and his stock received a much needed shot in the arm. He showed off his speed and individual skills, but also exposed his lack of size and the need for him to further improve his passing. While ranked in the late first round or early second round territory by some scouting agencies, projected the young forward to be selected some time in the third round, and that is where he was picked up by the New York Islanders with their 82nd overall pick. Considering the hype surrounding Ogorodnikov, the Islanders may have gotten a steal. However, the jury is still out on the young forward’s potential, as he only recently began his professional career in Russia’s second professional league with mixed success and hasn’t yet been tested at the Super League level.

- Evgeny Belashchenko

Related Player Profiles: . S.Ogorodnikov D.Parshin M.Yunkov
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