Thanks to everyone who voted for this year’s Top 25 Under 25 ranking. We had almost 100 submissions from Columbus Blue Jackets fans. Stay tuned as we count down the 25 highest voted players for the next month. Today, 24th ranked Kirill Dolzhenkov.
24th out of 40 eligible players
Writer Rank: 23rd
Reader Rank: 31st
Highest Placement: 12th (1 vote)
Most Common Placement: 22nd (4 votes)
2021 Rank: New for 2022
Birthdate: April 20, 2004
Birthplace: Moskva, Russia
Weight: 236 lbs
Position: Right Wing
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jackets in Round 4 (109th overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft
With most prospects, there’s a question as to if their skill can overcome their small stature in the NHL. That’s not a question for Kirill Dolzhenkov. At 6’6” and 236 lbs, the towering Russian loomed over his competition in the MHL (Russia’s AHL) this year, putting up 14 goals and 28 points in 33 games, along with 35 penalty minutes.
He has a lot of the basic instincts down, plus a wicked shot. However, questions remain on his defensive ability, decision making, and skating. But if those things click, and he uses his size to his full advantage, he could be an incredible steal.
Dolzhenkov, like most prospects in the KHL, will stay in Russia for the foreseeable future, due to both the agreements between the NHL and KHL, as well as Vladimir Putin creating an international crisis. It’s really hard to project Russians long-term, but I’d say it’s a 50/50 shot on if he moves up to the KHL this year, followed by a full year with CSKA Moscow in 2023-24, and moving over in one of the next two seasons after that.