Photo Credit – Aaron Bell/CHL, Photo Taken By – Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Gogolev should have been drafted when he was first eligible in 2018. You had to feel for the Russian winger in Dallas two years ago. He was one of those unfortunate players who make the trip to the draft with no doubt that he would be toting an NHL jersey come Saturday evening, yet was left sat in those cold, hard, plastic seats when the last name was called. His 30-goal season for Peterborough Petes should have been enough to be taken, even with the holes in his game at the time. The bad luck piled on in 2018-19 as well, as after a trade to Guelph Storm he was really heating up before a fractured ankle in January made him miss over two months of play. He returned in the playoffs, but did not look himself and played a depth role on a deep forward group that captured the OHL championship.
People often talk about the “Russian” factor, but Gogolev has spent the last seven years of his life in North America, and now speaks seamless English with a Canadian twang to it. He is also from a hockey family. His father Dmitri had a 19-year professional career that included four games for the Russian national team, and his big brother Alexander played two years in the WHL, represented Russia at u-17 level, and played in the KHL and VHL.
D.O.B – February 19, 2000
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 6’1
Weight – 179 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Gogolev’s Style Of Play
Gogolev is one of those forwards who the fans will never have to scream at to shoot… the puck will already be off his stick before they have a chance. He has a fantastic shot, and can pick corners at will with a terrific release that is hard to read. The Moscow native’s shot is made even deadlier due to his ability to shoot accurately while in stride. But it is not just a great wrist-shot that marks Gogolev out as a plus scorer. Depending on the situation he can go into his bag of tricks and pull out snap, slap and backhands at will. On the power-play he is crafty off the right half-boards, and causes panic amongst defensemen from that spot who in turn either over-play him and leave others open, or back up too much leaving him to take a stride forward and unleash a howitzer. While his shot is his hallmark, Gogolev also has nice hands, that while no means “amazing” help him get the puck in good positions, and allow him to protect the puck very well when skating or cycling. The young Russian also has a high level of confidence when on the puck, and is rarely phased by pressure.
His skating was a question during his age 17-18 season, but since then he has improved there, to the degree that he is above average, and can blow by guys in neutral zone once in stride. Gogolev’s play-making lags behind his high-end scoring, but technically speaking he is a decent passer, his biggest flaw is that he does not see opportunities for dangerous passes and is prone to shooting when he should pass. His work in the defensive zone has come on leaps and bounds over the last two years. He is never likely to be a defensive stalwart, but at this venture he can be trusted in his own zone and is “decent” in terms of his two-way game. It was not always that way, but over the last year seems to have really applied himself there. He can be a weapon on the penalty kill at the junior level as well, and it will be interesting to see if he can take that aspect of his game to the professional level. He has been to Detroit and Las Vegas training camps in the last two years, and given that two of his biggest “flaws” historically have been “fixed” to a degree, in terms of skating and defense, it is hard to see him not being drafted this year.
The kind of player that in the mid-rounds could be a steal. He will be able to play in the AHL next year, and if given a play-making center could shine at that level. There are likely questions over whether he has the type of game to play lower than a second line at the highest level, but personally I could see him being a complimentary third line winger who could maybe even be a second line third wheel if he keeps developing.
Tanner Pearson, Left Wing, Vancouver Canucks
Gogolev does not have the level of skating that Pearson has, but like the Canadian winger he plays at high speed with the puck on his stick, and is confident in possession. Both are shoot first players with a nice arsenal of shots who can pick a corner from the circles. Both also have some real skill even if don’t have high end hands. Neither are defensive stalwarts, even if they compete well in their own zone, and both can be utilized on the penalty kill. Gogolev also does not mind going to the net and mixing it up physically, even if, like Pearson, he has a tendency to shoot the puck from the circles.
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