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 2022 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 bring you our Ivan Miroshnichenko Scouting Report.
Sometimes there are things bigger than hockey. For top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Ivan Miroschnichenko, he learned that this season. The Russian winger was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March, ending his season and likely keeping him out for most of next year. Thankfully, the disease seems to have been caught quickly and his prognosis seems to be good.
Given that we have no real access to his medicals and even if we did, we are not doctors, this makes ranking Miroschnichenko exceptionally difficult. If he didn’t have the issues, he would have been ranked 6th on our board. However, the issue is also impossible to ignore, but its also nearly impossible to decide where to rank him. As such we are going with an Honorable Mention, and letting our readers decide where they would draft him.
The Russian winger was outstanding at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka Cup, captaining the Russian team to the gold medal and putting up four goals and nine points in five games. Miroshnichenko followed up on that performance by earning a spot on Omskie Krylia in the VHL. This is the second-best league in Russia and the 17-year-old was playing bottom-six minutes against men. He put up 10 goals and six assists for 16 points in 31 games.
Ivan Miroshnichenko Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Right
Born February 4th, 2004 — Ussuriysk, Russia
Height 6’1″ — Weight 185 lbs [185 cm/84 kg]
Miroshnichenko is an excellent skater. He has a textbook stride. This gives him very good top-end speed. He also has a quick first step and good acceleration. His ability to change speeds allows him to fool defenders both with and without the puck. He can take a defender wide, drop his shoulder and head to the front of the net. Miroshnichenko also has excellent edgework and agility. He can make quick cuts to avoid defenders and open up space. With his strong lateral movement, Miroshnichenko can open up shooting and passing lanes in the offensive zone. He also has a low centre of gravity. With his strength and balance, Miroshnichenko can fight through checks and drive the net. He also wins battles in the slot and along the boards.
Miroshnichenko marries his great skating with the soft hands and stickhandling ability to make plays. Defenders have to respect his speed and back off in order that they aren’t beaten wide. When they do, Miroshnichenko can use them as a screen and fire his shot on the net. He has excellent power on a wide array of shots including a wrist shot, snapshot, slap shot and one-timer. He even has a good backhander. Miroshnichenko has a quick and deceptive release on his shot, which makes him even tougher to stop. On the power-play, he loves to set up in the left circle and let that one-timer go. He also has the soft hands to finish close to the net. With his size, he can get to the net, provide a screen, get deflections, and pounce on rebounds.
Miroshnichenko can also play the role of playmaker. He sees the ice well and anticipates what his teammates and opponents will do. Miroshnichenko can beat opponents in one-on-one situations and this allows him to open up passing lanes. He is willing to be physical on the forecheck and will take a hit to make a play. He also does a good job of getting the puck to the dirty areas of the ice. While Miroschnichenko can get by his man and cut to the net, he also has the ability to bowl a defender over or to fight through checks to get to the dirty areas of the ice. His strong skating and puckhandling allow him to carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate efficient zone entries.
Miroshnichenko’s defensive game is a work in progress. There are times when he backchecks effectively, covers his man away from the puck and cuts down passing and shooting lanes. There are other times when he can get puck watching and lose his man, or he can fly the zone early looking to create offence. His intensity level and commitment to working in his own zone aren’t always apparent. He has the fundamental skills here but is very raw and needs continued coaching in his own end of the rink.
Projection and Comparison
The hope is that Miroshnichenko can fully recover and continue his hockey career. Obviously, though the risk of him not playing again, or not being the same player is one that NHL teams will need to assess prior to drafting him. That said, if Miroshnichenko can return to playing hockey at a high level, he has the potential to be a first-line winger and big-time sniper. The team that takes a chance on him will also have to wait a bit, as Miroshnichenko is expected to miss the entire season in 2022-23. While this isn’t a talent comparison or a career projection, his game is stylistically similar to Alexander Ovechkin.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ivan Miroshnichenko that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Here's a look at Ivan Miroshnichenko's 2nd goal of the game.
Showing off the wheels and hands on this one #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/XzI1UC96zj
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 18, 2022
Ivan Miroshnichenko is heating up
He extended his goal-streak to 4 games and 5 tallies with this cradle-and-finish wrister today.
He's up to 10 goals and 16 points in 31 VHL games on the season. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/qf4PP5Lf5Z
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 21, 2022
Ivan Miroshnichenko burns one on the PP in VHL action today.
He added an assist on the power-play as well to give him 9 points in 18 games on the season. #2022NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/BgiMYh5Ji1
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) October 27, 2021
Ivan Miroshnichenko comes up with another one to make it 6-3 Russia! #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/ZqljcPMJX1
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) May 6, 2021
Ivan Miroshnichenko blasts one through, making it 3-0 RUS with two minutes left in the first. #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/09xtAlgXn1
— Josh Bell (@JoshuaBell31) May 1, 2021
Ivan Miroshnichenko breaks the puck in and cuts to the middle to snipe his first ever VHL goal.#2022NHLDraft | 🎥 #VHL pic.twitter.com/kZqqZe4irD
— Dylan Griffing (@GriffingDylan) September 7, 2021
Check back tomorrow for our next article on the 2022 NHL Draft.
Ivan Miroshnichenko Scouting Report Main Photo:
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – JANUARY 22: #10 Ivan Miroshnichenko of Russian Federation shows his goal medal after Men’s 6-Team Tournament Gold Medal Game between Russia and United States of the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympics on January 22, 2021 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Basile Barbey/Getty Images)