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2021 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: Dmitri Voronkov has been impressing in Russia

Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had 102 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. We’ll be counting down the 25 highest voted players over the next five weeks. Up next: Dmitri Voronkov

#16: Dmitri Voronkov

16th out of 38 eligible players
Writer Rank: 14th
Reader Rank: 15th
Highest placement: 3rd (1 vote)
Most common placement: 16th (19 votes)
2019 Rank: 26th


Birthdate: September 10, 2000
Birthplace: Angarsk, Russia
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 190lbs
Position: C/W
Shoots: Left
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 4 (114th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft

2020-21 Season

Dmitri Voronkov has made a name for himself amongst both Russian and Ohio hockey fans with his breakout season in the KHL. Voronkov continued his upward trajectory in his second full season with Ak Bars Kazan, tallying a modest 12/7/19 in 53 games. However, it was in the playoffs where the big Russian took the next step. Voronkov led his team in scoring, posting 6/4/10 in 15 games played. Ak Bars was eventually defeated in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing to 2020 first-round pick Yegor Chinakhov and Avangard. Even with the loss, Voronkov’s accolades didn’t go unnoticed, as the hometown fans named him the team’s best player of the 20/21 season. Not bad at all for the 20-year-old.

Voronkov also suited up for the Russian National Team in the World Championships this summer, putting up a respectable 2/4/6 in 8 games played.

2021-22 Forecast

After a successful 2020-21 campaign, Voronkov earned himself a nice pay raise. Jackets fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief when it was announced that the new contract was only restructured and still had the same end date, keeping the same timetable for Voronkov’s potential arrival to North America (2023). In addition to the bigger paychecks, Voronkov also appears to be playing a larger role for his team. In a pre-season game, he wore the Captain’s “C” and has since been seen wearing an “A” in games when current captain, Danis Zaripov, is in the lineup. This is no small feat for such a young player, considering Ak Bars is a perennial powerhouse in the KHL.

If history is any indicator, Jackets fans should expect even bigger things from the bruising power forward this year as he matures and finishes filling out his large frame. Voronkov has always been known to play a hard-nosed game, often compared to Boone Jenner, but will most likely be looked upon to provide more offense this season. It would appear he’s off to a good start… I’d wager Dmitri Voronkov will be much higher on next years’ Top 25 Under 25.

Scouting Reports

Voronkov had a strong season, playing regular minutes for one of the best teams in the KHL. He was also a top player for Russia’s U20 team. Voronkov has skill and playmaking ability, with very good flashes of both but not consistently. What drives Voronkov’s game is how hard he works and how physically imposing he is. He’s a bull on the puck and in the high-traffic areas and has an edge to his game. Voronkov’s stock has improved as his skating has gotten better. It’s not a strength still and projects as below-average in the NHL, but good enough to play. – Corey Pronman, The Athletic

The more I watch Voronkov, the more I like him. He doesn’t have star quality to his game, but he’s just a good, effective pro hockey player. He’s big, he’s strong, he uses his frame to gain inside body position, win the majority of his 50/50 battles, and attack off the wall to the slot. And while there is a heaviness to his stride that limits his ability to push tempo, I wouldn’t say he’s a poor skater by any means. Add in above-average touch for his size, a constant willingness to forecheck and fight for his space on the ice, and some impressive instincts with the puck on his stick when lanes open and you’ve got an interesting player. – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic