Worry or not to worry: Dmitri Buchelnikov Detroit Red Wings prospect

Detroit Red Wings fans show growing concern with Dmitri Buchelnikov. Shouldn't be worried and here's why.
2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championships - Final
2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championships - Final / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

Arguably the most electric forward prospect in the Detroit Red Wings system, Dmitri Buchelnikov is an exciting winger from the 2022 NHL Entry Level Draft.

He made some news over the last few days, not for his play but an offseason move in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Buchelnikov was traded from SKA St. Petersburg to Vityaz Moscow Region:

His original, SKA St. Petersburg, is known as the KHL powerhouse–basically the Yankees of the KHL. They have an open checkbook and only play the top-tier players. 

Although Buchelnikov has some promise as an ice hockey player, his former team isn’t known for icing many (if any) young prospects. Their only goal is winning. 

In addition to the concern of not making SKA St. Petersburg roster, he signed a 2-year extension with his new team:

This move from Dmitri Buchelnikov is making waves throughout the Detroit Red Wings fandom with some people claiming it’s a cause for concern, but there is no need to worry.

Going into his draft plus-2 season, he has plenty of runway left. Only Lucas Raymond made the jump to the NHL roster in his draft plus-2 season. Raymond is a freak of nature, rather than the norm for NHL prospects.

Considering Buchelnikov is a second round draft pick, his path to the NHLwas always a longer route. 

Would I love to see him play in the NHL sooner than later? Absolutely, but it’s not an uncommon path that Buchelnikov is taking.

Many Russian players prefer staying longer in Russia than coming to North America. They tend to make more money playing in the KHL than they would signing contracts in the AHL or ECHL. Thus, they wait until they believe they are ready to take a spot on the NHL roster.

There hasn’t been any indication that Buchelnikov won’t come over or is disinterested in playing in the NHL that I’ve seen. He continues to like Detroit Red Wings posts on Instagram, which can be meaningless but to me it shows his interest in his future NHL team.

Once the 2026-27 season rolls around, Buchelnikov may be ready to make the jump to the NHL (likely no stops for the Grand Rapids Griffins). At that point, the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Playoff window should be opening and he would be a huge addition to the team.

He brings excitement and fun that few players have in the Detroit Red Wings system. Possibly a boom or bust-type of prospect, Buchelnikov offers a contrast to the relatively lower ceiling and higher floor players the Detroit Red Wings have tended to draft.

For me, he seems like a good, hard-working prospect with a bit of flare for the dramatics. Sign me up for the Buchelnikov train!

Currently, I have nothing but enthusiasm awaiting Buchelnikov’s NHL debut.

Next. jun 20. Albert Johansson signs extension, but what's next for the Red Wings prospect?. dark