Red Wings prospect Dmitri Buchelnikov tabbed as ROY candidate

(Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) /

Detroit Red Wings prospect Dmitri Buchelnikov was recently mentioned as a potential KHL Rookie of the Year contender for the upcoming season.

Buchelnikov, 19, was selected 52nd overall in the second round by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2022 NHL Entry Level Draft. This past season, the 5-foot-10 winger appeared in ten games for St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL, where he recorded one goal and two points. He was also a plus-2 in limited duty.

The Russian winger may be overlooked by some Red Wings’ fans simply due to the fact that Marco Kasper headlined the 2022 draft for Detroit, and we got a small glimpse of the young center last season. Kasper played in one game with Detroit in Toronto late last season before being shut down due to injury. Kasper is expected to spend the upcoming season in Grand Rapids with the Griffins, while Buchelnikov will play his first full professional season in the KHL. Kasper is expected to grow into a ‘do-it-all’ center for the Detroit Red Wings, and Buchelnikov is projected to be a scoring winger.

"“Even before the start of the 2022/2023 season, Dmitri Buchelnikov was one of the main contenders for a breakthrough among young KHL players,” writes Anton Vasyatin on“The next logical stage of a career should be the KHL, and on an ongoing basis,” Vasyatin notes. “Regardless of whether it happens in SKA or in another club (if the leadership of the army team prefers a lease)."

Detroit Red Wings prospect Dmitri Buchelnikov has big-time scoring potential.

Buchelnikov spent the majority of last season playing for SKA’s junior squad, Russia’s minor league level, or the American Hockey League equivalent. He totaled 15 goals and 13 assists in 35 contests with the junior clubs. Before that, Buchelnikov put up impressive numbers, with the Russian under-17 team recording a whopping 61 points in 28 games during the 2019-20 campaign. He’d follow that up the next season with eye-popping numbers, scoring 41 goals and adding 34 assists in the MHL.

Buchelnikov is under contract with St. Petersburg SKA through the 2025 season, so it may be a while before we see him in North America. There is a benefit, though. If all goes well, he will spend the next couple of seasons developing in Russia’s top professional league, playing against primarily established players.

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Translation: When/if he does arrive in North America in the summer of 2025, he should hit the ground running and possibly begin his career within the organization right at the NHL level. It’s not for sure, as there will always be an adjustment for any player entering the NHL, but certainly a chance.