The San Jose Sharks will have to wait to see Yevgeni Kashnikov in North America again. The 2021 draft pick has signed a two-year contract with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk of the KHL, ending his time in the QMJHL.
Kashnikov, selected 199th overall last year, was already an overage prospect who will turn 20 in December. He recorded 13 goals and 32 points in 62 games for the Gatineau Olympiques last season, playing both defense and forward. His 6’6″ frame and love of physical hockey made him a feared opponent (especially at the junior level), as Jacob Mathieu found out in March, when the two dropped the gloves.
With his return to Russia, Kashnikov’s exclusive draft rights will now be held indefinitely, meaning the Sharks can wait and see if he turns into something worthy of an NHL contract. For a seventh-round pick that is nothing more than a lottery ticket, this is actually sort of a beneficial thing for the team. Had he stayed in North America, Kashnikov’s rights would have expired next June as a player drafted out of the CHL.
Now, he’ll get to use that size in the KHL and see if he can develop a bit more, while the Olympiques gain another import slot to fill. Marcel Marcel, who they selected 42nd overall in this year’s import draft, arrived yesterday.