Ilya Solovyov took another step in his professional career in 2023-24

Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
15 days ago
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Ilya Solovyvov was one of the many AHLers who made their NHL debut in the 2023-24 season. While his time with the Flames was limited, he still had a successful season with the Wranglers as one of the top defencemen. Solovyov also brought his game to another level in the playoffs and acted as almost a second goaltender on some plays.

The past

Ilya Solovyov came from a promising career in Mogilev, Belarus. Prior to joining the Flames organization, he had represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions at the World Juniors and the IIHF World Championships.
Solovyov was drafted by the Calgary Flames 205th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft. He signed his entry-level contract in April and played the next season with the Stockton Heat. He was included in the transition from the Heat to the Wranglers and played the last two seasons with them. In his first season with the Heat, he put up eight points in 51 games. Last season he had his highest-producing professional year to date with 18 points in 68 games.

The present

This year, Solovyvov played in 51 games with the Wranglers and 10 games with the Flames. In his 51 AHL games, he put up five goals and 10 assists. With the Flames he put up three assists before going back to the Wranglers for the post-season. One of those ten games also included the Heritage Classic against the Edmonton Oilers in late October. Solovyov said:
“I want to say thank you to the Flames for giving me 10 games at the NHL. I was up there almost a month/month and a half probably. I stayed with the guys over there and tried to learn something from the D-corner. It’s helped me a lot with my game and my mind.”
In the playoffs, Solovyov was able to transfer some of his NHL knowledge and played all six post-season games. He mostly skated on the top pairing with Jordan Oesterle. He put up one point in the playoffs with a goal in game two against the Tucson Roadrunners.
Solovyov had some really good insight into the team’s playoff performance especially. He acknowledged they had some extra key pieces in their last playoff match-up against the Firebirds in 2023 with the likes of Connor Zary, Dryden Hunt and Nick DeSimone with the team but he still felt like this year’s squad could have beat Coachella Valley. The Firebirds were better at certain times and sometimes they caught Calgary when they lost concentration. Soloyvov said:
“We had a great two games in Tucson. Thank you Dustin Wolf. I think we can beat Coachella Valley too. It’s just somewhere we have miscommunication. Where we give up the goals we don’t have to give up like especially in second game in Calgary. Overtime… There’s my mistakes over there too but it’s hockey, everything happens quick.”

The future 

Ilya Solovyov’s entry-level contract expires this summer and he is one of the RFA’s Craig Conroy needs to plan for. Based on his year and the need for defensive depth, it would be quite surprising if he didn’t end up with some sort of contract with the Flames by the end of the summer. Solovyov has a clear plan for the off-season and is preparing to play even more games at the NHL level. In regards to his summer regime and his training focus, he said:
“Probably more about my physical. How I feel and how it looks like. I have to be in good shape. I will continue to work on skills, on my skating and on my mind especially. You can’t focus on one thing and forget about the other one.”
Ilya Solovyov made the most of his year and earned his minutes. If you watch him behind the play or around the net, he frequently bailed Wolf out in some tough situations. Further solidifying their partnership as a blueliner and a netminder that finishes off every game they play together with a crease christening. We will see if next year shows more of those two and their post-game traditions primarily at the NHL level or the AHL level.

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