A lot of Maple Leafs fans have been hearing about Dmitry Ovchinnikov lately. As of Sunday morning, he’s one point off the top of the list in the MHL, the junior league that’s affiliated with the KHL. He has 13 goals and 22 assists in only 22 games played for Sibirskie Snaipery, and if you go for points per game, he’s top of the league.
Late breaking update: He now leads!
Dmitry Ovchinnikov got goal and assist in a away loss to “Sarmaty” (3:5) but made a jump on the first place in MHL scoring race with 37 (14+23) points in just 24 games @MapleLeafs @gilliankemmerer @hcsibir pic.twitter.com/6HIWXzPnUh— Shumi Babaev Agency (@BabayevShumi) December 8, 2020
Not bad for a just barely 18-year-old drafted 137th overall in the fifth round. Dmitry (or Dmitri or Dimitry) is listed at 5’11” and 163 lbs, and he looks very young in his head shots.
He’s also getting the “designated junior” treatment in the KHL, and in fact, he was sitting there on the bench on Sunday as Yegor Korshkov scored an OT winner to lift Lokomotiv over Sibir. Ovchinnikov has been on the roster for Sibir in the KHL several times, but has played only about 15 minutes in the five games where he actually touched the ice. The purpose of this roster allowance — KHL teams are allowed two junior-aged players that don’t count against the roster limit, not even the playing roster for a game — is to allow them to very gently introduce young players to the top level of pro hockey. They only do it with the players they think are worth it.
Now, during this same time, Rodion Amirov has averaged 14 minutes a game in 23 KHL games, and he has eight points. He’s also only a month and half shy of being an entire year older than Ovchinnikov. But still, Ovchinnikov is getting his points in junior hockey, not the real deal like Amirov.
Try this comparison. The season after Yegor Korshkov turned 18 in the summer, he played 23 games for Loko in the MHL, and he finished with 28 points. He also showed up on the roster for 24 KHL games and had three points. Korshkov, who used to be incredibly thin but has been taller than 5’11” since childhood, jumped right into it with fourth-line minutes. He got the “dressed but not played” treatment only five times. Oh, and two of his three points came in the same game.
Ovchinnikov might not be quite cracking the KHL roster. Not yet, but he can’t be that far off from getting a real tryout. Meanwhile back in the MHL, many people have noticed he’s playing a lot of minutes. For forwards in the MHL, his TOI per game is second at 23:37 minutes per game. First is Mikhail Romayev at 24:32, third is Sergei Dubakin at 22:55 and fourth is Makar Nikishanin at 22:33. Guess which team they play for?
Back in the day, the MHL superline was three guys on Loko and they were moved as a unit to the KHL, and in one memorable year, were sent back to destroy the opposition in the MHL playoffs in their last year of eligibility. Korshkov, Pavel Kraskovsky and Alexander Polunin. Korshkov lined up with Kraskovsky on Sunday, so some things are eternal. Ovchinnikov’s teammates are all 20 years old, too, he’s the only kid.
But all that time on ice is going to be part of the driver of Ovchinnikov’s points totals. Points, for many reasons, are a bad way to measure player ability, even forward ability. They depend on opportunity, power play minutes, quality of teammates, the strength of the opposing teams, and in a short run of games, a lot of luck. The young Sibir snipers have some large shooting percentages, but in some leagues that’s normal, so I don’t want to read too much into that right now.
For a player Ovchinnikov’s age to be given all of this opportunity says things about him, but it also might be his team, his coach or just who is healthy enough to play in this virus-ravaged season. It’s really hard to weigh that in your mind. How much credit does he get for being this good a junior? How meaningful are those points if they’re coming from big minutes? That’s all very hard to say, but one answer I can give is where does he stand in the MHL if you take minutes into account.
This was a bit of a trial, grabbing the data and calculating it out, but not too terrible, so I might do it again later in the season. There are no splits for game state, so this is all-situations, which means every guy whose team has a good power play is going to look better than the guy playing second unit on a team that’s bad.
But here we go, MHL skaters as of Sunday morning, with all-situations P60 calculated. I included everyone with a P60 over 3 who has played over 10 games.
Top MHL skaters by all-situations P60, as of December 6, 2020
|Shabanov Maxim V.||Belye Medvedi||14||261||10||10||20||4.60|
|Dubakin Sergei||Sibirskie Snaipery||15||344||14||11||25||4.36|
|Nikolayev Ilya E.||Loko||12||181||6||7||13||4.31|
|Lukhovskoi Nikita||JHC Dynamo Msk||30||518||19||17||36||4.17|
|Kisakov Alexander||JHC Dynamo Msk||32||530||17||19||36||4.08|
|Makhrin Maxim||JHC Dynamo Msk||28||472||7||25||32||4.07|
|Ovchinnikov Dmitry||Sibirskie Snaipery||22||520||13||22||35||4.04|
|Sardaryan Stiven||Krasnaya Armiya||23||289||6||13||19||3.94|
|Kalashnikov Mikhail||JHC Atlant||17||292||2||16||18||3.70|
|Bolshakov Sergei||JHC Dynamo SPb||24||418||10||15||25||3.59|
|Gutik Daniil||JHC Dynamo Msk||20||354||7||14||21||3.56|
|Sheshin Dmitry||Belye Medvedi||17||310||8||10||18||3.48|
|Demidov Semyon||Russkie Vityazi||29||491||14||14||28||3.42|
|Kondyrev Kirill||Russkie Vityazi||23||369||16||5||21||3.41|
|Didkovsky Ivan||JHC Dynamo Msk||17||300||7||10||17||3.40|
|Yakovlev Pyotr||JHC Dynamo SPb||29||517||12||17||29||3.36|
|Lvutin Bogdan||JHC Spartak||22||329||7||11||18||3.29|
|Zinovyev Danil||Belye Medvedi||27||477||9||17||26||3.27|
|Silantyev Dmitry||JHC Spartak||29||494||11||15||26||3.16|
|Astashevsky Semyon||Omskie Yastreby||20||408||13||8||21||3.09|
|Fjodorovs Deniss||HC Riga||24||516||4||22||26||3.02|
Do you still think he’s amazing? Or is he just a little less amazing than the twitter videos made you feel.