The last time the Calgary Flames took a Russian-born player in the first round was 1999, when they took Oleg Saprykin 11th overall. If the Flames are looking to buck the trend of no first round Russians in 20 years, one such player might just be winger Pavel Dorofeyev.
Hailing from the Ural Mountains in the town of Nizhny Tagil, Russia, Dorofeyev fits the mold of a typical Russian hockey prospect, coming up through the MHL, Russia’s top junior league. However, due to him being an one of the older prospects in the draft he started off his season in the KHL, albeit with limited playing time.
Dorofeyev is currently listed at 6-foot-0, and weighs in at 163 pounds. He is a prospect that is shown to have the offensive and defensive skills to be a legitimate player, and scouts are liking the winger’s production in the junior league.
Jokke Nevalainen from Dobber Prospects gives a good overview on Dorofeyev, his 2018-19 season, and the type of game he plays:
Dorofeyev has been destroying the Russian junior league MHL this season – and he had a very strong season there already a year ago. He’s also played about half of this season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL but his ice time has been very limited there. He’s one of the older players for his draft class which is not a bad thing but should be taken into consideration. Dorofeyev is a very talented offensive player with upside to become a productive top-six winger. He has great vision and puck-skills but also has a very good shot. He’s also a hard worker who isn’t a liability defensively. He’s not big but has decent size as well. Dorofeyev might slide down a bit in the NHL Draft because of the Russian Factor but he should be drafted early in fantasy hockey drafts. He’ll likely spend another year or two in Russia before crossing the pond.
As well, Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports provided his analysis on Dorofeyev’s game:
Dorofeyev shows real offensive skill and has the potential to become a top six forward. Some concerns are the lack of explosiveness in his skating as well as the lack of power in his shots. These are fixable issues though, and if he can improve these areas, he could be dynamic at the next level.
As mentioned before, Dorofeyev split time between the KHL and the MHL this season. He posted a single goal and a single assist in 23 games with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL. While they are certainly not eye catching numbers, it is extremely rare for a player that young to produce at a steady pace in one of the most competitive professional leagues.
In the MHL, Dorofeyev registered 17 goals and 31 points in just 19 games, which is good for 7th in team scoring, but leads his team in points-per-game (PPG) with 1.63. In fact, his PPG ranks 3rd in the entire MHL, and leads all players 18 and younger.
It is apparent that Dorofeyev is done with the Russian junior league, proving all that he can, and is ready to continue his development in the pros.
Availability and fit
Dorofeyev is a player that most scouts see taken right around the 20-35 pick range in the draft (with one notable exception), which has him as one of the less varied prospects in this draft. ISS has him outside their top 31 rankings, FlamesNation’s very own Ryan Pike in his rankings at the Hockey Writers has him at 33, Future Considerations has him at 25, Dobber Prospects has him at 26, the Draft Analyst (surprisingly) has him at 12, and McKeen’s Hockey has him at 29th. Unless the highest projection for him happens to be right, Dorofeyev will be available right in the range where the Flames’ first rounder is located. However, it would be unlikely for him to remain available if the Flames plan on trading down.
As stated earlier, its been almost 20 years since the Flames last took a Russian born player in the first round, and the team hasn’t hasn’t had a Russian born player develop in the system to become an NHL contributor. With Dorofeyev heading to the KHL for at least two years even before the possibility of him coming overseas, it is very likely that the Flames are going to be hesitant in selecting the winger – their experiences with Rushan Rafikov (who never came over) and Pavel Karnaukhov (who went home a year after being drafted) likely make them a bit gun-shy here.
The Flames are still very thin in terms of right wing depth throughout the entire organization, and Dorofeyev is a one that could fit very well in the Flames’ development needs. He is a winger who is talented both offensively and defensively, with his only real concerns being that he has yet to really grow into his 6 foot frame. If the Flames are ready to shed the Russian factor and are committed to the Russian winger’s development, this could be a first round pick up turn out quite nicely.