Could talented 2024 Draft prospect Igor Chernyshov be the latest addition to the ‘C of Red Army’?

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
18 days ago
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Craig Conroy has been the general manager of the Calgary Flames for just over a year. Over that year, he’s added 22 players to the club’s reserve list via various means; seven of those players have been Russian or Belarusian. Based on that trend, we’re thinking that the Flames won’t completely steer clear of Russians at the 2024 NHL Draft if the scouts determine they’re the best players available at the specific spots.
Could Dynamo Moscow winger Igor Chernyshov be a player that the Flames covet?

Scouting report

A product of Penza, Russia – a small city southeast of Moscow – Chernyshov is a November 2005 birthday, making him one of the older first-time draft eligible players in his class. He’s a right shot winger listed at 6’2″ and 196 pounds.
After playing in the Dizel Penza system as a youth, Chernyshov was recruited into the Dynamo Moscow (or Dynamo Moskva, for the Russian speakers) organization. He’s played for several seasons in the Dynamo system, including chunks of each of the past three seasons with their top under-20 team in the Major Hockey League, Russia’s top major junior circuit. (He played alongside Flames prospect Yegor Yegorov on that club).
While Chernyshov has split time between various teams over the past few seasons, bouncing between different rungs in the Dynamo organizational ladder, he spent more time in the KHL in 2023-24 than anywhere else.
In November, Dobber Prospects’ Hadi Kalakeche provided a really handy summary of Chernyshov’s games at the KHL and MHL levels:
Chernyshov’s MHL tape is just unfair. He bullies opponents along the boards, easily strips them of possession, and makes small-area passes to open teammates with an ease and accuracy that leaves his opponents scrambling to keep up. Once in open ice, especially after three of his large strides, he can’t be caught.
In the KHL, much of the same remains, but he has also shown a whole lot of adaptability despite the limited ice-time. When he can’t out-muscle and out-speed his opponents, he has shown some glimpses of an off-puck game that helps him support his teammates’ routes. He tracks back, finds his check, and sticks to him. He’s still fairly raw, with a toolkit that sees him use a lot of his individual tools in a not-yet-cohesive way, but the top-six upside is evident.
In March, Sportsnet’s Jason Bukala provided a succinct rundown of Chernyshov’s game:
Chernyshov brings a combination of size and skill. He has a gear through the neutral zone in transition and his most attractive element is his potential offensive upside, especially on the power play. Overall, Chernyshov is best described as equal parts shooter and distributor. Defensive detail, effort and awareness ranges at times, though. Chernyshov split time between the KHL and MHL this season. At the KHL level he produced 3G-1A in 34GP. At the MHL (junior) level he scored 13G-15A.
In short: Chernyshov’s quite good. He’s not quite a complete 200-foot player, but he’s a really useful, versatile offensive player who’s played an impressive amount of pro hockey in a top league for somebody his age.

The numbers

Chernyshov played 34 games in the KHL, scoring three goals and one assist for four points. He played 22 games in the MHL, scoring 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points.
In the KHL, only three first-time draft eligible players had more games played or points than he did: Nikita Artamonov, Anton Silayev and Artyom Shchuchinov.
In the MHL, the only first-time draft eligible player in the league with a higher points-per-game than Chernyshov was Ivan Demidov – he had 32 more points (!) than Chernyshov in eight more games. But aside from Demidov, Chernyshov was the top producer in his age group on a per-game basis.

Availability and fit

A common refrain in our discussions of prospective 2024 picks from a Flames perspective has been “man, they’re good, but the Flames need centres and defenders.” And yeah, that’s the case. If Chernyshov wasn’t a winger, he’d be a better fit for the Flames’ needs. But the Flames need skill, especially right-handed skill, so we’re not sure if the positional needs aspect of things would really diminish his chances of being selected if he was available when they selected. Add in the fact that the Flames have a gaggle of Russians that could help him adapt to North America, and he starts to make a lot of sense for them.
But Chernyshov is part of a big chunk of the prospect first round crop that projects into the proverbial no-man’s land between their two first round picks – they select with their own pick at 9th overall and Vancouver’s at 28th overall. Chernyshov has appeared as early as 10th overall and as late as 30th overall on the public draft rankings, but typically has appeared somewhere between 18th and 21st.
He’s quite skilled and an attractive prospect in the mid-to-late first round, but It seems improbable that he’ll be selected by the Flames due to his placement relative to other top prospects (and the placement of the Flames’ first-rounders).

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