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: Yegor Chinakhov.
#12: Yegor Chinakhov
12th out of 38 eligible players
Writer Rank: 16
Reader Rank: 8
Highest placement: 3 (1 vote)
Most common placement: 7 (13 votes)
2019 Rank: N/A
Birthdate: February 1, 2001
Birthplace: Omsk, Russia
Weight: 179 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 1 (21st overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft
Jarmo Kekalainen left TV analysts scratching their heads live on-air back in 2020 after selecting Yegor Chinakhov in the first round. Several national talking heads had never heard the name Chinakhov, but rumors swirled in the aftermath that other teams also had the young Russian in their sights. Ultimately, it was Columbus that landed the winger. A year later, very few doubts about the pick remain.
Chinakhov had a successful first year in the KHL. He took home rookie of the year honors after scoring 10 goals and 7 assists in 32 total games. His team, Avangard Omsk, won the Gagarin Cup. Seventeen points may not sound like a lot, but for a nineteen year old coming from Russia’s major junior league into what’s considered by many as the world’s second best hockey league, it’s enough to raise a few eyebrows.
Yegor Chinakhov has already committed to playing in North America for the 2021-2022 season. Not long after Avangard won the KHL’s top prize, Chinakhov signed his ELC with the Blue Jackets. There is still the question of whether he’ll be playing in Columbus or Cleveland. He’ll certainly get an opportunity to make the big club, but it’ll likely be an uphill battle. With the Blue Jackets in rebuild mode, he’ll ultimately be placed wherever the front office believes his development will be best facilitated. Do not fear if he ends up in Cleveland, he’ll still have the opportunity to play with some good players and learn under a solid coaching staff.
His first-round selection in the 2020 NHL draft shocked the world, but don’t sleep on Yegor. The overager scored 69 points in 56 MHL games last year and is now showing he can play at a high level in the KHL, scoring 10 goals and 17 points in 32 games. Chinakhov’s shot is his trademark weapon, as he can fire it like a missile past goalies in the blink of an eye. As of now, he’s most noticeable in the OZ and could stand to develop a stronger defensive/transition game. That being said, there is high-level goal-scoring upside here. - Sam McGilligan, Dobber Prospects
Chinakov’s offensive impact his impressive. He moves the puck quickly, supports the play well, and seems very aware of his options. His puck skills are high-end; he makes body fakes and quick cuts to force defenders to move their feet and open space. He consistently read opposing breakouts to intercept pucks. - Elite Prospects