FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #15 Dmitry Zavgorodniy

Once you get into the late rounds of the draft, the chances you’re going to find an NHL player drops drastically. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible – plenty of notable players have come from the last picks – just that it’s very rare.

Considering the low likelihood of success, might as well dream big, right? That’s what the Flames appeared to have done when they chose Dmitry Zavgorodniy, a 5’9, 175 lb. Russian right-shooting left winger in the seventh round, 198th overall. There’s potential there, and with it, he comes in at #15 on our 2018 top 20 prospects list.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

How did we get here?

Born in Omsk, Russia, Zavgorodniy got his start playing for his local youth team, Avangard Omsk. In 2015-16, his 15-year-old season, he played for their U16 club, scoring 43 goals and 88 points over 36 games: leading not just his own team in scoring by nine goals and 23 points, but being far and away the top scorer across the entire U16 league by the same amount.

As a 16-year-old, in 2016-17, he moved up to Omsk’s U17 club, scoring 19 goals and 46 points over 21 games. This time, however, he did not lead his team nor the league in scoring, probably because he also played 15 games for Omskie Yastreby in the MHL, Eurasia’s major junior league. There, he scored five goals and 12 points: a stronger league he couldn’t dominate quite so forcefully (probably in part because he was, you know, 16).

This brings us to Zavgorodniy’s 17-year-old season and NHL draft year, for which he moved halfway around the world to play in the CHL. The QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic selected him eighth overall in the CHL Import Draft (just two spots behind fellow 2018 Flames draft pick Milos Roman), and he rewarded them with 26 goals and 47 points over 62 games: good for fourth in team scoring (with two players older than him ahead of him in scoring, plus the 16-year-old Alexis Lafreniere leading the entire team). While Rimouski finished first in the East Division, they lost in the first round of the playoffs; Zavgorodniy scored one goal and three points over the seven-game series.

He also represented Russia at the U18 World Juniors, scoring one goal in five games; he had eight goals and 13 points over 16 U18 international junior competitions, tying him for third in Russian scoring.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

It isn’t just that Zavgorodniy is small: he’s young, too. With an Aug. 11 birthday, he’s still a couple of days away from turning 18, making him one of the youngest players chosen this past draft. Playing major junior hockey in Canada is a pretty big step up from the absurd number of points he was picking up in Russia – even in the goal-happy QMJHL – but that he’s been able to continue at a reasonable trajectory (dropping from .8 points per game in a limited MHL sample size to .76 in a full season in the Q) should be encouraging.

League Games played Goals Assists Points
QMJHL 62 26 21 47
International-Jr 16 8 5 13

For a further look into Zavgorodniy’s QMJHL numbers, via prospect-stats, we can see that just under half of his total points were primary in nature and at 5v5.

Games played Points Primary points 5v5 points Primary 5v5 points
62 47 39 29 23

For a deeper dive into Zavgorodniy’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup on him here.

Those in the know

Ray Edwards, the Flames’ director of development, likes what he sees out of Zavgorodniy so far:

He’s starting to get acclimated into the culture, the language, and sort of the North American game. What we see in Zav is this guy is a competitor. He’s already got his body into a position where it’ll allow him to succeed. He was one of our top conditioned athletes in development camp, so we know he works hard so I think we need to get a little more specific with his training and I think once we do that, he’ll take some more step.

He also noted that Zavgorodniy plays at a mile-a-minute pace, and will need to work on slowing the game down some.

Willy Palov, the Chronicle Herald’s QMJHL writer, also spoke to Zavgorodniy’s strengths, and what he’ll have to work on:

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Zavgorodniy is a small, skilled forward who skates well. He needed some time to transition to major junior hockey as a rookie in Rimouski last year but finished the season well. He wasn’t especially productive in the playoffs and will need to improve his overall game and strength to play at the pro level. Some of that will come with age and he will be in a prominent offensive role with the Oceanic this season. He is certainly a worthwhile gamble in the seventh round.

On the horizon

Zavgorodniy now has one year of North American hockey under his belt, and it was a productive one, if one that also hinted there’s plenty more room for improvement as well. But that’s only to be expected with a seventh round pick – and, well, that far into the draft, the Flames have certainly made worse bets than a tiny Russian kid with scoring flair.

He’s expected to be back with Rimouski for 2018-19, and considering his history playing for Russia internationally, with a chance of representing them in the World Juniors as well. As one of Rimouski’s top scorers this past season, he should be in a position to be a key contributor once again, but hopefully this time stronger results: more points, less reliant on the powerplay, and continued growth he should be able to apply as he hopefully continues on to higher level leagues.

It’ll be interesting to see how he progresses, as this will be the first time Zavgorodniy stays in the same league from one year to the next.

#20 – Martin Pospisil #19 – Demetrios Koumontzis
#18 – Emilio Pettersen #17 – Filip Sveningsson
#16 – Milos Roman


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

  • Off the wall

    Unfortunately I couldn’t see Zav at the scrimmage with the prospects. But at 17, ( and a 7th rounder) he looks like a good bet nonetheless.

    “ He plays the game at a mile a minute “ Hmm, I like the sound of that!

    Thanks Ari for including his age, weight and height…

  • Off the wall

    Only to be 18 again! I wish I would’ve taken hockey more seriously. Of course I was small and light, so it probably wouldn’t have mattered.

    But to be young again…

    18- cute girl waves a beer at you, you stare at girl

    Now- cute girl waves a beer at you, you stare at beer!

  • HAL MacInnis

    Totally off topic here, but how the heck do people put pictures and quotes from other commenters with all that fancy formatting and stuff. Is there a guide somewhere here for all the markup language you can add to your comments?

  • Squishin

    Apologies for the off-topic post again, but it’s August. Zavgorodniy won’t even sniff at the NHL for probably three or four years, although his skillset is one that I’m excited about.
    I appreciate that there are so many passionate fans on this site; it’s awesome reading all the comments every day. It’s made me more of a Flames fan and hockey fan in general. It wouldn’t happen without quality content from the writers either!
    Because of this site, I’ve been motivated to go play hockey once again – haven’t played since I was a kid. Thank you all for that gift!

    • Off the wall

      Great post Squishin!
      Good for you sir, I’m still playing Old Timers and we always have a great time.

      We are the best Nation and I’m proud of our members and writers too!

    • Cfan in Van

      I agree, I began following this site around 9 years ago, and it definitely helped me be a more engaged fan (not just Flames but hockey in general). And now that Lambert isn’t around, I can honestly say I appreciate all the contributions made by the writers.

      I do miss Kent though, he had an amazing impact on the quality/direction of this site. I’m too cheap to subscribe to the Athletic to keep following him.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Great you are playing again. I started with a bit of credit to this site after age 40. I guess actually a couple past articles I wrote on here (interviewed Hartley during lockout) so glad others inspired by FN. I see 15 games in person and 65 more on TV as well…love it. And hey thanks for HTML stuff guys

  • Stu Gotz

    Time to stock the cupboards. Trades involving draft choices must stop for a few years! Or else we will have to continue with the lower end prospects that dominate the Flames system at this time!

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I really like that Zadina kid…would be so sweet if we could get a guy like that. I obviously don’t want us to play so bad we get that good of a pick, but yeah.

      Overall, we got some stellar youth, but definitely excited to have full picks next summer. Maybe we could get some for Stone.

      Also, I get Tres desire to draft centres and defense. That’s the league mandate now. But can we draft some scorers too??

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Yeah, I’m speaking in broad strokes, and in terms of higher draft picks, as well as the current prospect pool. To me, it’s been defensive focussed (dmen, centres, and good solid bottom 6 200 ft type players). Not critiquing that, but we’ve needed scoring RW’s for a while, for instance, and some good PP specialists. I love the work they’ve done with bottom draft picks, and am definitely standing corrected when it comes to them, but it would just be nice to have some top 6 draftees.

          Again, it’s summer, I’m speaking polemically, and also just want a Zadina or someone else who’s just a shark out there.

          • MDG1600

            Totally agree. Tre has traded away his first round pick in 3 of the 4 years hes been in charge so there hasn’t been a lot of the high end drafting. The good news is the one pick we kept was Tkachuk who I think is a home run.

          • Baalzamon

            Totally agree. Tre has traded away his first round pick in 3 of the 4 years hes been in charge so there hasn’t been a lot of the high end drafting. The good news is the one pick we kept was Tkachuk who I think is a home run.

            Bennett… Valimaki…

          • MDG1600

            Baalzamon – my bad on Valimaaki – for some reason I thought he was a 2nd rounder. I didn’t include Bennet because Tre got hired just before the 2014 draft so he really wasn’t in charge of that draft.

    • whysoserious

      Absolutely, supposedly 2019 is bumper crop of draftees, Tre needs to get as many selections as possible through trade since we do not have a full compliment going into next year’s draft.

      • piscera.infada

        supposedly 2019 is bumper crop of draftees

        Literally every year is a “supposedly bumper crop”. This past draft was supposed to be “very deep”, and then around the beginning to middle of last season it was “very shallow”, and then in the lead up to the draft it was “very deep, in terms of first-round defensemen”.

        I would say that at this juncture, running any sort of trade, free agency, draft philosophy based on how “deep” a draft appears is probably just an all-around poor idea.

          • Off the wall

            Haha I was just thinking the same thing.
            I’m so old I learned computers on DOS.
            With those floppy 5 1/4 inch disks that were good substitutes for frisbees ( when bored, which was always)

            Remember when..speaking for myself of course, the 386 was the fastest computer around?
            Man technology has changed, but this old fart ain’t learning
            HTML for the following reasons:
            #1 not smart enough
            #2 see number 1

        • whysoserious

          Counting on draft picks in the 4th to 6th round on an annual basis to fill vacant spots on the big team is “just an all-around poor idea” as well. The more we picks we can muster in the first two rounds the better the prospect pipeline and the ability to garner those for any potential trades gets enhanced as well.

  • meat1

    I do agree with Stu Gotz…when your 7th round selection instantly becomes a top-15 prospect in your organization, that maybe isn’t such a great long term outlook.

    • Kevin R

      I gotta say, I do agree with this post. Might be interesting to see previous years top 20 ratings (not sure how long FN has been doing top 20) so we can put in context who made it & who dropped off & where they ranked. Yeah, its boring in August & my buddy said it was so smokey while golfing it was a struggle just trying to follow the ball off the tee-offs lol.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    More off topic, but man I would be so stoked if there could be a flames-blues playoff series. I really like that team, and would love to beat them even more.

    Also, I’m very happy to have a group like this. At times it can be testy, but I think we’ve got a nice group here. Good to remind ourselves of that.

    More off topic: Anyone else watch or read official news/analysis/predictions of the flames from sportsnet and the like and think “man, these people really don’t know our team at all, nor really take us seriously”?

    Some of their analysis is just kinda baseless and so far off. Hopefully this season we can show them that we’re the real deal.

      • Baalzamon

        Not super related, but I remember someone (can’t remember who… PJ Stock? One of those guys) saying that Winnipeg would–and should–protect Ondrej Pavelec over Hellebuyck. Like.. what?

        His reasoning was super dumb too. Like, never mind that Pavelec had been the worst regular goalie in the league for years, with the only competition being Joey MacDonald (who played far less) for a while, and Hellebuyck (at the time) by far the best goalie prospect in hockey with a very good pro debut. Oh no. I’m sure Vegas will pass on probably the best and youngest goalie exposed. But better watch out; they’ll jump at the chance to snap up that awful, aging starter with the bloated contract.

        Those guys are in high demand, don’t you know.

        The only western Canada team that anyone knows anything about is Edmonton. Vancouver, for some reason, is the next most well-known.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Totally. I don’t understand the Edmonton thing either: they always seem to pump up the oilers, like “it’ll be a big year for the team, and they could totally be a playoff contender, etc etc etc”. I’m not here to bash the oil, but I just don’t understand how all these commentators are so out to lunch on that team.

        • The Fall

          Edmonton and Vancouver play in ‘Rogers’ rinks. As in, the company that owns Sportsnet.

          There is a huge conflict of interest in the country when a broadcaster can own the team, the building, the network and the distribution.

        • Jobu

          Peej was pretty awful, especially at the beginning. I remember when he first came on the scene the rest of the CBC hockey crew took every opportunity to embarrass the guy.

          • Baalzamon

            My favorite Stock moment was the time he mispronounced the name Taylor Pyatt. He said Taller Peot.

            What kind of born-North American doesn’t know how to pronounce Taylor?

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      Also, I’m very happy to have a group like this. At times it can be testy, but I think we’ve got a nice group here. Good to remind ourselves of that.

      Love this! We cheer for the same team (other than the trolls). While we may have different opinions at times if we all agree to keep it respectful this can be an awesome dialogue!

  • deantheraven

    i like how he’s referred to as a ‘tiny Russian kid’ when he’s bigger than JH. If he grows at all and continues to work on his body, like the scouts predict, he’ll be a solid young man before he finished junior.

    • oilcanboyd

      Yah, the NHL sure has changed. Recently departed Stan Mikita carved out a pretty decent NHL career over 22 seasons with the Hawks and he was 5 foot 9 and 160 lbs! He was a mean s-o-b on the ice with high PIMS. Then he turned it around and won the Lady Byng next 2 years after his daughter asked him why he was always sitting by himself (in the penalty box)…Only NHL player recording over 100 PIMs and later winning a Byng.
      Maybe this is why WW refers to MT as Byng?

  • Trevy

    Watched this kid play in the Development camp scrimmage game and he looked really good. As a 7th rounder to stand out like that is impressive. He’s very quick on the puck and always makes something out of nothing, whether it be a scoring opportunity or making a safe play. Looking forward to this kids progress

  • everton fc

    If developed the right way… And if he can stay put in the “Q”…

    I think he will develop sooner, than later. Meaning, I see him in the AHL, by the time he’s 20. Video below shows he’s got a decent wrist shot. I like this pick;

    • FL?MES

      I think what we’re all overlooking here is what is going to happen to most the guys in Stockton? Our roster is pretty much set and, failing injuries, how is anyone in Stockton going to get a good look on the Flames? Do we just resign ourselves to the fact that are just AHLers and move on?

      The Flames have a glass ceiling and the bar has been set.

      I bring this up because I want to see players succeed and some value in them. Maybe I’m worrying about nothing?

      It’s a good place to be in the short-term I guess….?

      • oilcanboyd

        With the new players acquired by the Flames the competition for spots on the Flames roster got much tougher. That is the way it should be. You can’t gift a prospect and see if he develops into an NHL star. They have to kick the door down and make the coaches notice – like Johnny, Mony and Byng. If the prospects deserve to be there I am sure Tre can arrange a trade or two for the new acquisitions (or even last years Flames players) that didn’t perform as expected and lost a spot on the roster. As for Shinkaruk IMO he will soon be out of the organization.

        • everton fc

          Shinkaruk is off everyone’s radar screen, these days. It’ll be interesting to see how much ice time he gets in pre-season games, and who his line mates are. I’m pulling for the local kid, but he’s got a lot of players to leap-frog. I’d say he’s even farther down the depth chart than Klimchuk. Maybe even Lomberg.

          We shall see…

    • FL?MES

      #*$!….you’re still coming through loud and clear T&A4Flames ?. The bald emoji could be you or any one of us. There is no haggard emoji with wrinkles so this will have to do…

  • Great Wall of Kipru

    Gotta say longtime flames fan but just recently started reading this awesome website a few months ago. I must say I appreciate all the discussions and different outlooks on my beloved flames also thank you commenters and writers couldn’t be more stoked or edumacted for this season since I’ve started reading WEOO!!! Oh and GO ROYALS