How Russian hockey players played in the NHL rookie tournaments, Askarov, Marchenko, Pashin

“Askarov is a world-class goalkeeper.” How the Russians played in the NHL rookie tournaments

Egor Bulchuk

How Russian hockey players played in rookie tournaments

Marchenko found his partner, and the Toronto forward had unexpected problems.

Rookie pre-season tournaments have ended in North America. Several Russian hockey players took the chance and managed to loudly declare their claims to vacant places in the NHL.

Columbus striker Kirill Marchenko showed himself especially brightly. The former SKA player was entrusted with a place in the shock link with Kent Johnson, who had already managed to try his hand at the base of the Blue Jackets.

The Canadian, who has excellent assistant skills, quickly found a common language with the Russian, who, on the contrary, has sniper inclinations. As a result, Johnson scored six points in three matches and became the team’s top scorer, followed by Marchenko in this ranking. The forward scored a goal in each of the games. At the same time, in two cases, the goals were the fruit of his individual efforts. In the meeting with St. Louis, Kirill went into an aggressive selection and succeeded in close combat with the goalkeeper, and for Toronto, the hockey player saved a spectacular solo pass from behind the gate.

Another Russian who regularly broke the applause last week is Yaroslav Askarov. The Nashville goalkeeper has not changed his style: he, as before, often played on the verge of risk. However, unlike Askarov’s recent tournaments, this time he managed to direct non-standard actions to the benefit of the team. As a result, the Predators won the Prospect Showcase Tournament with two wins in three games.

Askarov was in the starting lineup throughout the tournament – only in the third period of the final game did he give way to Braden Holt. The finest hour of the ex-goalkeeper SKA was the first match – with Tampa. “Lightning” had enough opportunities to impose their will on the opponent, but most of these attempts were broken on shields and other items of Askarov’s equipment. As a result, the Lightning still scored two goals, but both in a double majority.

“Askarov is definitely a world-class goalkeeper, he showed it,” Luke Evangelista, Yaroslav’s teammate, gave him an exhaustive description.

“How can people in Russia not believe in Askarov?”  The goaltender put on a show at the NHL Rookie Tournament
“How can people in Russia not believe in Askarov?” The goaltender put on a show at the NHL Rookie Tournament

Askarov’s stunning debut overshadowed another Russian’s amazing performance. Egor Afanasiev took part in the rookie tournament for the second time – perhaps it was the experience that helped the 21-year-old striker score four goals at once in the tournament.

“Toronto”, following the adult teammates, showed a completely unimpressive result. At the Traverse City tournament, the Maple Leaves suffered two defeats, including one big one against St. Louis (3:8). The Russians left an ambiguous impression about themselves.

Pavel Gogolev earned a reputation as the most inventive Toronto hockey player: several times he embarked on dizzying strokes and left his opponents in the cold. As it turned out, Gogolev’s main weakness is realization. He became the Maple Leafs’ top shooter with 13 shots on target, but only scored once. At the same time, Pavel missed several moments close to ideal – for example, two one-on-one outings without guardianship.

Pavel Gogolev

Pavel Gogolev


Semyon Der-Arguchintsev held the tournament more successfully: in one of the matches he scored a double, but in general he was remembered for an abundant number of penetrating passes. True, only one of them turned out to be an assist: the same problems of the Toronto players as Gogolev prevented the rest from being transferred to a similar status.
Prospect “St. Louis” Andrey Bakanov, on the contrary, demonstrated excellent efficiency. The 20-year-old striker scored a hat-trick in a meeting with Toronto and was immediately invited to the training camp of the main team.

Caroline forward Alexander Pashin received good press. The forward, who was previously listed in the Salavat Yulaev system, scored a lacrosse goal and, after leaving the ice, could read hundreds of rave reviews about himself from journalists and fans.

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For other Russians, the rookie tournaments did not go well. Dmitry Semykin did not prove himself in Tampa. Artyom Grushnikov, who was admired during the training camp preceding the tournaments, did not become a prominent figure for Dallas. Vasily Ponomarev, who played for Carolina, hit the charts due to a powerful breakthrough and a filigree pass to a teammate, but nothing more. Grigory Dronov also did not become a key player for the Hurricanes, although information that the club has entered into a trial agreement with him is already dispersing at the level of rumors on social networks.

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