When dealing with Russian prospects, specifically the ones who don’t come to North America before their draft seasons, “patience” is the key word. The unpredictability can be at times confounding or even frustrating. Whatever the case, this is not something that’ll change any time soon.
Chris Peters ranks and evaluates the top 50 prospects in hockey in terms of long-term impact at the next level. Elias Pettersson, a 2017 first-round pick for the Vancouver Canucks, tops the board, but who follows?
For that reason, there are some NHL clubs that are going to be more hesitant to draft Russians where their talent suggests they should be selected. There’s enough risk in projecting players, but there’s an entirely different level of risk if there’s a question of whether they’ll ever sign.
Here’s a look at seven players whom I find particularly notable, with some estimates on when we might see them in the NHL.
“I haven’t talked to him yet,” Dante Pettis said. “They actually have a game right now. They just started about 20 minutes ago. Hopefully he’ll come in during one of the innings and, you know, can call me. So, I haven’t talked to him yet.”
When that conversation happens, Pettis can tell his father how the 49ers prioritized him enough as a new weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo that they traded up 15 spots in the second round to secure his rights.
San Francisco shipped pick Nos. 59 and 74 to the Washington Redskins for picks 44 and 142. The Niners used that 44th pick on Pettis.
At 6-foot-1, Pettis wouldn’t be considered big for his position, but he’s instantly one of the taller receivers on the roster. More importantly, Pettis had a wildly productive career at Washington. He caught 22 touchdown passes over the past two seasons and was also a dynamic punt returner, setting an NCAA record with nine returns for touchdowns in his career.
Pettis paid a pre-draft visit to the Niners and had a good idea the team was interested in drafting him. In San Francisco, Pettis, who can line up at any of the receiver positions, will likely compete with the likes of Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne for snaps behind Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin.