Another exciting young prospect, Kirill Slepets (Canes), is settling into life at a new club. The Lokomotiv graduate was a star of Russia’s bronze-medal roster at last year’s World Juniors and also celebrated his first KHL goal in the campaign. However, under Craig MacTavish and now Mike Pelino, he was out of the first-team picture at Loko. Strong scoring in the VHL (15 points in 21 games for Buran Voronezh) attracted the attention of Dinamo Riga and the 20-year-old Hurricanes draft pick is part of a new-look forward line in Latvia. Two Avtomobilist men, Nikita Setdikov and Alexander Protapovich, are both emerging talents looking for ice time to make their mark.
Best rookie was forward Kirill Marchenko (SKA), who won all three road games with his team last week, scoring two goals. The 19-year-old forward scored his first goal in the KHL against Amur and posted the game-winning goal in the Friday game against Kunlun Red Star.
Here come the young men
Compared with SKA’s newest goalscorers, Bilyalov is almost a veteran. Head coach Alexei Kudashov continues to give youth a chance with the Army Men, just as he did so successfully in his previous job with Lokomotiv, and 19-year-old Kirill Marchenko (Jackets) and Danila Galenyuk ( undrafted) have seized that chance. Both players potted their first KHL goals in last week’s 3-1 win at Amur. Galenyuk went on to collect two assists in SKA’s overtime win at Red Star, while Marchenko scored the decider in that 3-2 success. In light of such a performance, the youngsters could have a very bright future ahead of them.