Photo Credit: Metallurg Magnitogorsk
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Danila Yurov is a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft. He hails from Chelyabinsk, Russia and plays in the Metallurg Magnitogorsk system.
He has played in the Metallurg system for the last several seasons (from 2018 onwards). In his 2020-2021 season, Yurov made his KHL debut and appeared in 21 games at the KHL level. He had split his time between the MHL and the KHL, but was far more productive on the scoresheet in the junior ranks (MHL). It’s been a similar situation this year.
Not only has Yurov done well at the MHL level, but he has also performed well in international play as well. Yurov was a key contributor to Russia’s success at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championships. He posted four goals and seven assists in seven games.
D.O.B – December 22, 2003
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –179 lbs
Position – Right Wing
Handedness – Left
Yurov’s Style Of Play
When driving into the neutral zone, he will look to dump the puck, push off the defenders once entering into the offensive zone and chase after the puck.
Yurov will skate up the slot and looks to create openings for passing opportunities. He will present his stick blade out to indicate that he has identified a quality passing lane and that he is ready to receive possession of the puck. For the most part, Yurov loves to skate into the slot as he looks to key up scoring chances. When a forward takes his spot on the right side, he’ll skate up centered ice and crash the net looking for rebounds.
Outside of the slot, Yurov still looks for ways to grab possession and move the puck to the slot. He will shift towards the half-wall when working on the wing to open up a lane for his teammate to exploit in the slot, then looks to complete a lateral feed from the half-wall to the slot to his teammate.
As mentioned above, Yurov will look to complete passes to the slot, but his passes don’t always have a clear passing lane, instead he’ll look for trajectory passes (some scouts refer to this as zone passes, anticipation passes and/or route passes) and hope that once his teammate gets to the pass that he can out-deke the attack. While that comment might sound negative, it shouldn’t be taken as negative. Not every forward can be a quality trajectory passer. A trajectory passer means that a forward will identify a lane that he believes that a teammate will use and then attempts the pass. Yurov has proven how effective he can be with trajectory passing. He will complete trajectory passes to the slot when skating 2v2. One attacker will be on him and another attacker on his teammate. His teammate cuts through the middle and Yurov slings a pass to the slot to meet his teammate in time.
If Yurov keeps possession of the puck and drives down the boards behind the red line, you will see him struggle with creating scoring chances. When wrapping around the net, he needs to be quicker in his decision-making, there are instances in which he had a man open in the slot, a good passing lane, but waited too long and ended up passing back to the point.
Yurov needs to work on shot selection. Over the course of my viewings, I’ve noticed Yurov taking a decent amount of ill advised shots from the point. In addition, he also needs to work on transferring his weight when attempting a snap shot. Sometimes he just lacks the power behind his snap shot and quality weight transferring is critical to getting a lot of power on a snap shot.
Yurov hasn’t found the back of the net that often so far this season. As of November 16th, he has recorded three goals in a total of 23 league games (combining KHL and MHL). He did score a one-timer goal against Omskye Yastreby on 9/24. But, Yurov had a lot of open ice and the attack failed to prevent Yurov from identifying an open passing lane.
When dealing with pressure in the offensive zone, Yurov will struggle to outwork the back-check. Struggles to get around pressure at open ice and along the boards. Along the boards, he’ll get sandwiched in at the boards and fail to avoid turnovers in possession. At open ice, you will see him get pushed out of the slot by an opposing defender. He needs to develop upper body strength to push defenders off of him at net-front. When Yurov is rushing into the offensive zone, he will struggle to avoid disruption. If he’s got an attacker on him, he doesn’t do a lot of to manipulate the attacker, buy space and cut to the net. That leads to quite a few non dangerous shots as Yurov can’t do much else with the puck but shoot.
There are instances in which Yurov can manage to shift around traffic. But, he is far from consistent in terms of out-witting/out-muscling the attack, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. When Yurov does manage to out-muscle the attack, he’ll turn, pivot and throw the pass along the boards down low to a teammate who is towards the corner.
Not only does his inconsistency prohibit him from owning strong puck security, but it also hurts his ability to drive to the crease and generate high danger scoring chances. That is why in situations where he draws the attack and can’t find a gap for him to shift around, he will attempt to complete a trajectory pass as he knows that he’ll struggle to cradle the puck around the defender. If he has enough room then the sky is the limit but if the pressure is tight, Yurov will struggle to shift around.
On the forecheck, he will be physical, use an active stick and keep up speed with his opponents. Uses his upper body strength to force turnovers at open ice. In the corner, he will go to the boards for puck battles, he will go for the hug approach with the opponent’s back facing Yurov, pushes the attacker into the boards with his glove, grabs possession of the puck and passes it along the boards towards the blue line. Along the half-wall, he will stick-lift his opponents’ stick to cough up his opponents’ possession of the puck.
From a stick-handling perspective, Yurov does struggle to maintain possession of the puck when he pushes the puck too far away from his body. He has limited reach. He’ll either lose the puck or his puck security won’t appear to be air tight. He needs to build up upper body strength to allow him to play the puck further out and secure it.
Yurov will claim possession of loose pucks along the boards and immediately will look to deliver a lateral cross-ice zone exit pass. But, he tends to struggle to go after loose pucks with speed. I’d like to see him faster to loose pucks in the defensive zone along the half-wall to prevent close calls with attackers on the forecheck.
To jumpstart a rush attempt, Yurov will drop down low to provide support to his defenders and give them an outlet pass option along the boards when his defenders are facing forecheck pressure. Once he has possession of the puck, he prefers to complete a zone exit pass instead of driving up the ice himself, but he does have sequence where he stands up and facilitates the transition from zone to zone.
When completing a zone exit pass, he tends to prefer tape-to-tape lateral zone exit passes before he hits the blue line. He will attempt to be rather deceptive with the puck and try a no-look pass from time to time. But, he needs to work on identifying attackers and his line-mates by using peripheral vision as a decent amount of his no-look passes end up in enemy hands.
He deploys good positioning in the slot when the puck is in the other corner or along the other half-wall. Yurov knows that he needs to cover the slot as his teammates who are engaged in the puck battle have left the slot a tad open for their attackers to exploit.
When the attack enters the zone, he’ll face the rush and stick to the defender or the winger and with his positioning he’ll force them to play up closer to the blue-line along the half-wall. When paying close attention to the winger in the corner, he’ll use an active stick to follow the winger’s stick blade and push into the winger’s shoulder to force the winger to lose possession of the puck. When skating towards a puck carrier at the point, he’ll extend his stick blade out in front of him to try to manipulate the puck carrier into moving the puck quickly. But, while that’s good, it’s almost as if he’s playing his cards far too early in advance. Should try to use his stick blade once he garners enough speed and get slightly closer to the puck carrier. Once at the puck carrier, I’d like Yurov to force him to the boards and lay down a hit.
When going zone-to-zone with the puck, he will carry the puck towards the middle of his stick blade to keep the puck secure, create a lateral pass to his right. Instead of being the F1, he will opt for his teammate to become the F1 and he will become the F2. Even in situations in which Yurov was facing really tight pressure, he still manages to complete a lateral pass while he was entering the neutral zone. It doesn’t matter if he has ton of room or a tight space, he can still complete a lateral feed. On occasion, if he runs into a tremendous amount of pressure at center ice, he will deploy a stop and pivot to throw off the defender and complete a lateral pass to a teammate who is keeping pace with him and isn’t being directly challenged.
When not driving the rush, he will look to position himself at the offensive zone blue line in the neutral zone and key up passing lanes for his defensemen. Upon entering the offensive zone, he’ll skate towards centered ice, play the puck to the left, draw an attacker in and then he’ll complete a lateral pass.
In the below clip that my buddy, Cam Robinson of EP Rinkside posted, you will see Yurov finding a passing lane for himself at the offensive zone blue line in the neutral zone, capturing a pass and then make his way around the defender as he cuts to the net.
While he lacks the foot speed at times to defend the rush, if he can get sort of in range, he will extend his stick out and force ill-advised puck movement. As he does struggle at times on putting tight pressure on the rush, he will rely mostly on placement to force the puck carrier to utilize the boards in transition. Yurov will skate towards the puck carrier in the neutral zone when they are keeping pace with each other and try to put on pressure before his defensive zone blue-line to force the carrier to dump the puck. On occasion, he sometimes will skate parallel with the puck carrier on the rush, extend his stick blade out as the puck carrier rushes along the boards to try to eliminate passing lanes. If Yurov is skating behind the rush, he will extends his stick out in a last attempt, but usually he is still a bit too further back from the puck carrier to cause any disruption.
When identifying a potential pass from the opposition’s defenders to their forwards, who are paying attention to the defender and aren’t looking at the Yurov or Yurov teammates, Yurov will put pressure on forward attackers on the boards and blindside them to force the attackers to cough up possession of the puck once they gained the puck off of a pass.
When deploying outsides edges as he looks to come to a stop along the boards behind his opponent’s net, he will on occasion blow a tire. But for the most part, he does deploy good edges and pivots. His footwork allows him to keep solid pace with the puck carrier in the offensive zone.
If he is skating hard toward the red line in the offensive zone at full speed, he will look to deploy a pizza stop to pause himself.
Yurov has good ankle flexion, gets into gear with a good hop, then implements crossovers and two stride extensions. Once he has completed his stride extensions, he will revert back to crossovers and relies on them quite heavily. Yurov used his crossovers well to steer himself. When on the rush, he will use right foot crossovers over his left foot to steer himself towards the left.
While Yurov does a good job at using crossovers for acceleration, he sometimes will forget to deploy them when going after loose pucks or a puck battle. Off the hop, you might see Yurov go into a shortened stride instead of implementing crossovers and that hurts his ability to get the puck at a fast rate.
If Yurov can work on his stick-handling, he will become a far more dominant offensive forward who can cut to the net with ease. The potential is there. He just needs to work on cradling the puck around attackers and honing in on his deceptive instincts to counteract his attackers’ defensive measures.
November 16, 2021
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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