Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Dmitri Ovchinnikov.
Russian forward Dmitri Ovchinnikov has had a real breakout year. Playing for Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk in the MHL, Russia’s under-20 league, he has put up over a point per game. Ovchinnikov scored 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points in 54 games. He also earned a chance to play in the KHL, getting in two games for Sibir Novosibirsk. While he didn’t pick up any points, he also didn’t get much ice time as his parent club is taking their time in developing a promising young player. Ovchinnikov also played two games for the Russian Under-18 National Team, picking up two goals and an assist for three points.
In 2018-19, Ovchinnikov played in the Russian Under-18 league, scoring seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points in just 10 games. This led to the Novosibirsk moving him up to the MHL, where he scored two goals and five assists for seven points in 40 games, playing as a 16-year-old. He also played eight games for Russia’s Under-17 National Team, putting up three goals and three assists for six points. An August birthdate, it is important to note that Ovchinnikov is one of the younger players in this draft class.
Dmitri Ovchinnikov Scouting Report
Right Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born August 19th, 2002 — Chita, Russia
Height 5’10″ — Weight 161 lbs [179 cm/73 kg]
A bit undersized, Ovchinnikov makes up for it by being a very good skater. His first step quickness is very good. He also has excellent acceleration and very good top-end speed. Ovchinnikov is a threat to get behind the defence and can take a long breakaway pass. He also can challenge defenders in one-on-one situations, beating them to the outside and cutting to the net. Ovchinnikov has very good edgework and agility as well. He can make quick cuts and get away from defenders and generate effective zone entries. Ovchinnikov needs to work on his core strength though. He is willing to battle physically but lacks strength right now. He’s knocked off the puck easily and has trouble battling for loose pucks and in front of the net.
Ovchinnikov combines his skating with excellent stickhandling ability. He can get around defenders and cut to the net. Once he gets there, he has the soft hands to beat a goalie in tight. He likes to deke to his backhand and go high on the goalie. Ovchinnikov also has a strong wrist shot and a quick release which he uses from further out. His speed forces defenders to back off and he can create his own shot. He is also smart enough to get open without the puck, giving him room to take a pass and shoot the puck on the net.
Ovchinnikov is also a strong playmaker. He can make smart passes to his teammates through tight areas. With his quick hands and lateral agility, he can open up passing lanes with a quick move to create space. Ovchinnikov is willing to work down low in the cycle game and is also willing to work along the boards battling for loose pucks. However, his lack of size and strength leaves him ineffective in these areas. He needs to get stronger if he is going to be more effective on North American ice playing against men.
Ovchinnikov is a responsible defensive player. He plays as a third man high in the offensive zone, sure to get back in his own zone. He gets back quickly and provides effective backpressure against the transition game. Ovchinnikov is able to knock away passes with a quick stick and intercept passes. He is willing to contribute against the cycle game as well. However, the lack of size and strength becomes a limiting factor here. He has trouble trying to contain bigger and stronger opponents. Ovchinnikov will need to bulk up to be able to play his game at the pro level.
Projection and Comparison
Ovchinnikov is a potential boom or bust pick. He has the offensive skills to be part of a team’s top-six and plays a defensively responsible style as well. However, physically he is very slight and can be pushed around. While it is a theme in our scouting reports that most players need to gain strength and put on muscle, this is at another level. The question becomes can he put on the 30 or 40 pounds that may be necessary to play at the NHL level, and still have the quickness and skill that make him so intriguing. If he can do it, the boom potential here is high. Ovchinnikov’s game is reminiscent of Evgeny Kuznetsov but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Dmitri Ovchinnikov that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Dmitri Ovchinnikov Main Photo:
Dmitri Ovchinnikov has earned a call-up to the U-18 WJC.
The Russian has 55 points in 54 #MHL games this season and has 2 #KHL games under his belt. If he can perform like he has all year at the WJC, his stock will certainly be on the rise.#2020NHLDraft #NHLDraft | @hcsibir pic.twitter.com/TUOoPiOE7F
— Dylan Griffing (@Dylan_Griffing) March 9, 2020