With the current Leafs’ management regime having a reputation for capitalizing on market inefficiencies such as trading down at the draft to acquire more picks, it turned some heads when they traded up in the fifth round of the 2020 draft in order to secure Russian forward Dmitry Ovchinnikov.
Ovchinnikov has continued to turn heads since, establishing himself as a legitimate prospect with stellar production in his draft+1 season where he netted 51 points in just 40 games – good enough for the third highest points per game mark among MHL players who suited up for at least 20 games. His strong play at the junior level earned him some time in the KHL but he was mostly relegated to bench warming duty as an 18-year-old.
The 2021-22 season was a similar story for Ovchinnikov and he racked up 29 points in just 22 games for Siberskie Snaipery. He had seemingly outgrown the MHL, and with Sibir being one of the few KHL clubs without a VHL affiliate, he was caught between being too good for the junior level but not yet gaining the full trust of his coaches in the KHL. He suited up for 17 KHL games but averaged just over five minutes of i …
Author: Nick Richard / The Leafs Nation