Photo Credit: Avangard Omsk
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Ivan Miroshnichenko is a top 2022 NHL Draft prospect and hails from Ussuriysk, Russia. Ussuriysk is located in Siberia and isn’t far from both the Chinese/Russian border and is due north of Vladivostok. While he was born in Siberia, he moved west towards Moscow as a youth and played youth hockey in the Buran Voronezh organization. Following his time with Buran Voronezh, he played U16, U17 and U18 hockey with Vityaz Podolsk. After a few seasons with Vityaz Podolsk, he joined the Avangard Omsk system (based in Omsk, Russia). Per Sport24.ru, in November of 2020, Avangard Omsk purchased Miroshnichenko’s rights from Vityaz Podolsk for ₽700,000 rubles ($9,500 USD).
In his 2020-2021 campaign, Miroshnichenko spent his time playing in the MHL with Avangard Omsk’s affiliate, Omskie Yastreby. In 20 games played, he recorded five goals and 10 assists. He also suited up for Russia at the U18s in Northern Texas (Plano, Texas and Frisco, Texas). Miroshnichenko was a key contributor for the Russians as he tallied six goals and two assists in seven games played.
While Miroshnichenko did play for Russia at the U18s, no one was positive on whether he’d play until the last minute. This had nothing to do with injury. Instead, it had to do with the US Border Protection Agency. The US government reversed course and approved Miroshnichenko for entry prior to the tournament. But, it wasn’t the first time that Miroshnichenko had been denied entry into the United States. In late April of 2020, Miroshnichenko had signed a tender agreement with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks but was unable to get a visa to enter the United States. The United States isn’t the only country that Miroshnichenko has had issues entering. Previously, he had also been denied entry into Canada. Neither the American government nor the Canadian government has explained why Miroshnichenko had been denied multiple times.
This season, he has spent the majority of his time playing at the VHL level and was named to the Russian Preliminary World Juniors roster.
D.O.B – February 4, 2004
Nationality – Russia
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –185 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Right
Miroshnichenko’s Style Of Play
Miroshnichenko is very well-rounded when it comes to his shooting selection. He will score rebound goals, wrist shot goals from the perimeter and one-timers from distance. When scoring a rebound goal, sometimes he will take additional time to get himself more centered to the crease before a shot attempt in order to have a better chance of scoring.
From the perimeter, he will score top shelf wrist shot goals and will look to go blocker side. Since he is normally skating up the left side of the ice, he will look to go blocker side on most goaltenders (assuming that he is a facing a left handed goaltender or a right handed goaltender who gloves with his left hand). If he is looking to complete a one-timer, he will look to establish ice near net-front and go down on one knee to generate power for his shot.
While he has had success with his shot, there is still more development that needs to be done. He will struggle to get good direction on his wrist shot in medium danger. Miroshnichenko needs to work on where he lines his feet up when firing a shot. Off of a t-stop, he turns his feet towards the corner when looking to take a shot in high danger and the shot went to the corner, not on net. When it comes to height, Miroshnichenko can get the puck to the chest, glove and blocker but can’t hit the corner of the net. Miroshnichenko needs to work on shooting up towards the bar. He will struggle to net the top corners.
When it comes to stick-handling, he will struggle with cradling the puck at net front to his backhand to get a quality shot off when all alone with the opposing net-minder. He struggles to swing the puck around defenders at open ice. If is he cradling the puck from side to side, he will struggle with puck security and looses possession a decent amount as he likes to control the puck towards the toe of his stick blade. His inconsistent puck security issues leads to a decent amount of bobbled pucks in the offensive zone when he is looking to drive the rush in the neutral zone and when shifting around an attacker at open ice. I would like to see Miroshnichenko work on playing the puck out slightly further out and shifting the puck away from the attack with the puck closer to the stick shaft and away from the toe of the blade.
Miroshnichenko thrives with his passing and likes to generate a lot of dangerous passes. He’s proven that he can complete great seam pass in a tight lane to a teammate. If he grabs possession of the puck behind the net and notices that he has an attacker on him, Miroshnichenko still works on getting the puck to the slot but sometimes will take the long approach to getting the puck to the slot. He will carry the puck through the face-off circle and towards the boards and then completes a backhand pass to a teammate coming through along the boards and the teammate has more open ice as the attacker is not in position to fend off Miroshnichenko’s teammate. Instead the attacker is fixated on Miroshnichenko. But, there are plenty of instances in which he doesn’t have to take the longer approach and doesn’t have to do a lot of work to manipulate the attacker. I’ve seen Miroshnichenko skate behind the net and deliver a behind the back pass to a teammate in the low slot. He will look for tight passing lanes to the slot to exploit when dealing with a defender and looking to find a teammate in the slot. If he is working the cycle and an attacker starts applying pressure on him along the boards, he can pivot and pass around the backcheck. The one pass that he truly has an affinity fo is the backhand pass. He loves to try backhand passes to the slot and far more confident in his backhand feeds than his long range seam passing.
Miroshnichenko works hard to find open ice and passing lanes for his teammates to utilize. He will look to find open ice at the inner face-off hashmarks and key up one-timer passing lanes. Miroshnichenko likes to go to the slot/face-off circle and call for the puck with his stick.
I’d like to see him to work on upper body strength to push past defenders on the way to loose pucks in the offensive zone. Miroshnichenko needs to combat attackers with more aggressive play when going for loose pucks. While he needs to work on building up his upper body strength and using it to his advantage in loose puck battles, he still manages to net quite a bit of loose pucks in the offensive zone. He will skate hard for an unattended loose puck in the corner, skates back behind the opposition’s net and delivers a pass to his teammate in the low slot. Miroshnichenko will also look to quickly claim loose pucks and then fire a backhand feed towards the crease if he sees a teammate skating hard towards net-front.
On the forecheck, he won’t pounce on the puck carrier in an assertive fashion. Sometimes he’ll track the attacker, stay at a distance and wait for the attacker to make an error before Miroshnichenko attempts to secure the puck. He is waiting for the puck carrier to bobble the puck or make an ill-advised pass.
When playing on the wing, he’ll look to skate at pace with the puck carrier even if the puck carrier is on the other side of the ice. He plays his man tight and looks to shut down lateral passing lanes so the carrier is stuck with the puck. In addition, he keeps excellent pace when opposing defenders pinch up and skate towards loose pucks along the half-wall. Miroshnichenko looks to maintain pace and trap him once the defender tries to claim possession.
When defending the perimeter, he will bend his knees and attempt a shot block on a shot from the point. In general, he does have good positioning when placing himself along the perimeter and watching over the blue line.
But, his defensive positioning isn’t always strong. Occasionally when the puck is along the half-wall, he’ll stand in the slot and let his defensemen handle the situation, despite being a left winger. When the puck goes past the perimeter then he asserts more pressure. But, then a few shifts later he’ll apply pressure in the corner. It’s a consistency issue for Miroshnichenko.
In addition, he can be quite slow with puck tracking. Just seems to lose vision of the puck and that impacts his reactionary movements. It leads to the attack get around him with ease.
Miroshnichenko likes to use active stick defending. He will extend his stick towards the puck carrier along the boards to try to strip the puck away and will look to manipulate puck movement with changing the direction of his stick blade. By changing the direction of his stick blade, he can force puck movement to go where he wants them to go.
When retrieving a puck, Miroshnichenko has excellent stick-handling reachability that allows him to extend out his stick to collect a zone exit pass that was coming slightly further away from his body. He has shown time and time again that he can rely on his wingspan to grab possession of a breakout pass that is slightly behind him.
When in control of the puck, he will opt to stare down an attacker at open ice and manipulate the attacker into zoning in on Miroshnichenko. The attacker doesn’t realize that Miroshnichenko has a teammate skating up the half-wall and Miroshnichenko fires a backhand lateral pass for a zone exit pass once.
Similar to his play in the offensive zone, Miroshnichenko loves to use his backhand, but he uses it generate zone exit passes. He will complete backhand lateral passes for a zone exit while on the rush and complete backhand drop passes right near the blue line.
In the neutral zone, Miroshnichenko does a good job of establishing open ice at the blue-line to key up stretch passes for his defensemen in the defensive zone. He constantly looks to get open at the offensive zone blue-line and get a passing lane for his teammates to pass through to him.
What is interesting is that Miroshnichenko has shown that he can cradle the puck around attackers in the neutral zone with ease, but in the offensive zone, he is inconsistent with his ability to outmaneuver attackers. In the neutral zone, he has shown excellent cradling and extends his stick out to the right (if the attack is on his left side) as he shifts around traffic on his way to entering the offensive zone.
When skating after loose pucks, he will build up his speed with a few power stride extensions in the neutral zone and use it to burst into the offensive zone. As explained in the offensive section, he will constantly skate hard for those pucks, but it is in the neutral zone where he picks up the speed and garners the necessary acceleration.
Similar to his play in the defensive zone, he marks his man and keeps good parallel pace with the attacking puck carrier who is on the rush in the neutral zone. While he does keep good pace, you will also notice that his reaction timing on puck movement can be slightly slow and it’s truly evident when he’s trying to track the puck carrying defenseman.
I’d like to see him more hungry for the puck in the neutral zone. There are instances in which he comes off the bench and immediately was just nonchalantly standing in the neutral zone. He can be quite laid back with his defensive approach in the neutral zone. Either stands around or casually extends his stick blade out towards the attack when stationing himself along the defensive zone blue line. He likes to wait for the attack to come to him.
Miroshnichenko has good power stride extension length and darts after loose pucks with speed. He can generate quality acceleration on his skate extensions alone. His ankle flexion is in solid shape as well and you need solid ankle flexion if you intend to develop a strong power stride.
There are a couple of instances in which he had some difficulty with the skate extension recovery when completing a power stride extension, but managed to keep himself up right. It appeared as if he was losing stability and balance. He also has shown to have stability issues when using his inside edges while turning right. Miroshnichenko struggles to hold his balance with his left skate.
Even though there are instances in which he struggles to keep balance with his edge work, he has a tight turn radius with his edges. Miroshnichenko can stop on a dime and uses excellent edges to complete the stop.
Miroshnichenko will utilize solid crossovers that give him the necessary speed to stay level with his teammate who is carrying the puck into the offensive zone and further down towards the corners. He gets quality acceleration off of his crossovers and has a quality hop/jump before he implements crossovers to grab acceleration as he goes for loose pucks behind the red line. When he is in stride and spots a puck becoming loose, he’ll shift his hips and complete a crossover mid stride extensions to keep pace and turn on a dime. In general, when in control of the puck, he uses a lot of crossovers to keep his feet moving and can net great acceleration when skating up the ice with the puck.
While he does possess good speed, he doesn’t always show it. If he is standing up right, his reaction time can be a bit slow. Usually, you will notice his reaction time slowing him down when he is on the forecheck. When he is going after loose pucks, he will skate hard, but on the forecheck, his reaction time limits his ability to put quality pressure on the attack.
The projection for Miroshnichenko might change throughout the season. But, at first glance, I believe you are looking at a second line forward. If he can work on his shot, he has the potential to be lethal at the NHL level. But, I truly believe that his shot will hold him back if further development does not occur.
December 6, 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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