• PROSPECT-UPDATE ARCHIVE
With very little action involving draft prospects, only one player gets special mention for Monday.
Russian goaltender Amir Miftakhov makes the top-performances list for the fifth time this season after a 21-save performance in Kazan Irbis' 3-2 win at Nizhekamsk. It completed back-to-back victories for Miftakhov, who stopped 53 of 58 shots (.914 save percentage) over the two-game span. He now has 10 wins in the young MHL season -- more than any other first-year draft-eligible Russian goalie.
With five appearances here, Miftakhov leads all goaltenders in standout performances this season. When you watch him, you notice two things. First, he is remarkably calm in his crease, no matter how much traffic surrounds him. Second, he is listed at 6-foot-0, but he is clearly smaller than that. Not Rogie Vachon or Dylan St. Cyr small, but definitely not in the 6-foot range. That might hurt him on draft day, since NHL teams gravitate toward bigger goalies. He will definitely be drafted, though, and Central Scouting already lists him as B-rated potential second-rounder.
Miftakhov is one of several talented European goalies in this draft pool, and when people look back on this draft, it might be remembered for all the European NHL netminders it produced. There are at least two goalies from each major hockey country with early-draft potential.
In Russia, there are Miftakhov (.917 save percentage) and Daniil Isayev (.944). In the Czech Republic there are Jakub Skarek (.902) and Lukas Dostal (.903). In Sweden, there are Olof Lindbom (.900), Samuel Ersson (.918), and Linus Gidbark (.924), and in Finland there are Justus Annunen (.906) and Kalle Nurmi (.886). Expect all of these players to be drafted, which means the real competition will be among North American goalies, who must outshine European counterparts as well as each other.
Below is a taste of Miftakhov from the first period of Monday's win. He didn't make any of the highlight-reel saves he is known for, but he showed solid positioning throughout the period. Take a look: