Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Russians Are Coming... whoopie!

I know the suspense has been killing you but you can finally rest easy - the Russians have released the official list of players who will get destroyed play against the QMJHL, OHL and WHL in a six game series beginning on Monday.

You might get the sense that this news hasn't really excited me and you'd be right. To me this is just another reason why the ADT Challenge needs to be revamped and sooner rather than later.

A quick check on the Russian squad and I can show you the list of players who have been drafted by NHL teams:

Evgeny Dadonov - a 3rd round pick in 2007 of the Florida Panthers

...and that's it.

By comparison, the number of drafted players on the rosters of the 3 CHL teams:

QMJHL: 18 OHL: 21 WHL: 19

The Russians will add a handful of CHL players as they cross the country including Dmitri Kugryshev (WSH 2nd round '08), Evgeny Grachev (NYR 3rd round '08), Sergei Korostin (DAL 3rd round '07) and Andrei Loktionov (LA 5th round '08) but those players are only going to appear in the regions where they are playing.

I scanned the most recent release from ISS to see how many top Russian prospects for 2009 are on the released roster. There's no Anton Burdasov... no sign of Dmitry Orlov or Georgy Berdyukov (defensive partners in Camrose at the 2008 WJAC) and goalie Danila Alistratov is also absent.

Those are the only 4 names ISS lists in their Top 30 Europeans so while some of the ADT players may actually be targets for the 2009 draft, they're certainly not in the John Tavares, Evander Kane, Olivier Roy or Jared Cowan talent range (all of those guys will be playing for the CHL teams).

Taylor Hall will play for the OHL and he's not eligible until the 2010 draft, just like Maxim Kitsin and Kirill Kabanov for Russia but no, they're not coming either.

I understand that this is meant to be a showcase event for each CHL league where they can pit their best against an international rival. It sounds great in theory except that the international rival obviously couldn't care less about helping the CHL showcase itself. Why would the Russians want to send Kitsin or Kabanov over to play in CHL rinks... it might entice them even more to jump to North America after the CHL Import Draft.

I had an idea before of how the CHL could still continue the series but I've come up with a second idea which I'll enveil in the next day or two. I think it's an even better one and can't see how anyone can think it would be less interesting or less of a promotion for the three CHL leagues than the fiasco that is the Canada-Russia Challenge.

Stay Tuned!

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