7/25/2009

MHL Stars: Alexander Avtsin


A draft gem. The new Ovechkin. These are only two of the things that has been said about the last Montreal Canadiens' draftee Alexander Avtsin. "It's like that: Ovechkin's level is at my head's height, I'm still on the floor" - admitted the young player.

MHK Dinamo's star was an unknown player up till last year. He didn't play much with the national teams, wasn't a much known name even in Russia. But then he scored 110 points in the regular season - a record for Dinamo's farm team - and many scouts wrote his name on their jotters. Probably adding that the guy can skate and can play. Many scouts saw him during the season, including Trevor Timmins, who came to Moscow just for him.

Alexander Avtsin is a forward with a good frame and physical play, excellent stickhandling and ease to get to the score sheet. It was an easy call to compare him with the Washington Capitals superstar.

"He reminds of Ovechkin. He is quick, has good technique and is not afraid to challenge. He has a great potential. We could not miss the chance to pick him up." If these words come from Timmins, you've got to believe it.

Avtsin was also recruited to play in the CHL after Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts drafted him in the CHL import draft. But reading his interviews looked like he isn't too interested in playing in the Q and Roy admitted really early that he wasn't going to play there. But there is a chance he'll play there in one year, we'll have to wait till next summer, when the Habs will see at which level he is and what can be better for his development. "There are good chances to see him with the Remparts in the 10-11 season" - added Roy himself.

He seems really committed to play for Dinamo this season even if most likely he'll spend the whole season playing for MHL Dinamo's junior team. "I will probably play both in the KHL and MHL next year. Hardly I'll play directly in the KHL, but I'll do my best to get selected for the first team." It will be hard, Dinamo has a very stacked team as they want to win the Gagarin Cup (KHL's trophy). Let's remember that this summer they signed many players including Swedish rising stars Linus Omark and Johan Harju, getting them under the nose of their NHL teams. Though he recognizes that the MHL will be a step forward for him and for Russian hockey, as it will be "more interesting to play there, rather than with Dinamo-2" - he declared to Soviet Sports a couple of weeks ago. Let's remember that the new Russian junior league will start on September 4th with a match between MHK Dinamo and CSKA-Red Army. "We will win" - he said. But we'll check out on September!

Alexander also liked a lot his time in Montreal and differently from many other Russian peers is looking forward playing for Hamilton in the AHL, he wants to be there as he knows that he'll need some adaptation towards the NHL. He has great potential, but some parts of his game needs work. Defensive play, battles in the corners. Reaction. But he can make it through. The "Russian factor" made him go down to the 4th round, but he can be a draft steal like Evgeny Grachev last season for the Rangers.

"I was disappointed to read that Ovechkin is my idol. Yes, I like his style, but I don't want to be like him. Ovechkin is Ovechkin, and Avtsin has to be Avtsin."

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