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Maple Leafs' Top 25 Under 25: Yegor Korshkov starts things off at No. 25

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Yegor Korshkov kicks off this year's 2016 Maple Leafs' Top 25 Under 25 ranking in his first year of eligibility after being selected 31st overall by Toronto at the 2016 NHL Draft.

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After losing out in a tiebreaker to the player now ranked at No. 24 on the 2016 Maple Leafs' Top 25 Under 25, newly drafted Russian forward Yegor Korshkov makes his debut in this year's series.

The Results

Korshkov, who received 28 of a possible 350 points, was ranked by nine of our 14 panelists and finished as high as no. 21 on two rankings. Korshkov finished just ahead of WHL leading scorer Adam Brooks, who was ranked by two fewer panelists on route to finishing with 24 points.

Both Species and Burtch ranked Korshkov the highest, while all of Elseldo, Gunnar Carlsson, Achariya, Fifty and Chris left the overaged draftee off of their 2016 ranking.

Voters were generally apprehensive about giving Korshkov more clout as one of the organization's top prospects because he was passed up in his first draft year, has little experience in North America beyond international events, and has yet to fully prove himself at the professional level in the KHL.

Much of Burtch's positive impression with Korshkov, on the other hand, was actually because he has already played almost a full season in the KHL.

My opinion on Korshkov essentially boils down to my high opinion of skaters playing a regular shift in a top end men's league (the KHL). Korshkov has played 69 regular season and playoff games for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl over the past 2 years. This past season he produced 12 pts in 41 games. He was playing 2nd line minutes in the playoffs for Yaroslavl in the playoffs last season (14:33 per game - ranked 6th amongst F's) after averaging only 10:57 during the regular season.

Oh and in addition to leading the Russian WJC-U20 entry in scoring with 8 pts in 7 gp, he led the MHL playoffs in scoring with 19 points in 15 games after Lokomotiv got bounced from the first round of the KHL playoffs. He largely dominated his age group in Russia.

Given his size, experience at a higher level than many other prospects at the same age, and the fact I think he has significant room to develop offensively, I couldn't see much reason to not place him ahead of the other prospects on the listing who are still playing in junior or the NCAA.

His NHLe would translate to about 0.23 pts/gp in the NHL (he had 0.29 in the KHL).  He is 20, so for comparison here are some other 19-21 year old NHL'ers with similar production in recent years:

Jake Virtanen (19) - 0.24 pts/gp
Nic Petan (20) - 0.23 pts/gp
Kevin Fiala (19) - 0.20 pts/gp
Tom Wilson (20) - 0.25 pts/gp
Sven Andrighetto (21) - 0.25 pts/gp
Jason Zucker (21) - 0.25 pts/gp
Reilly Smith (21) - 0.25 pts/gp

I'd say if he's at a comparable level production wise to that cohort of skaters that he is deserving of being in the Leafs Top 25 Under 25. - Burtch

Species sees Korsakov's blend of size and skill as advantages to his potential upside over some of the players ranked in the 20s.

Like most people, I had not seen Korshkov play beyond a few games at the World Juniors. I had to rely on scouting reports and information from hockey insiders to get a picture of his play and potential.

I originally had him ranked at 25. When reviewing my rankings I felt at this point in the list it's appropriate to more highly weight potential upside vs. other factors. That worked in Korshkov's favour. The risk and upside mix for all the players ranked this low is difficult to map out, but the more I read about Korshkov, the higher his possible upside sounded, so I moved him up to 21.

Korshkov deserves to be ranked in the Top 25, and above some players with less potential upside. All that being said, I know there's risk he won't pan out, which is why he isn't out of the bottom group.  He'll be an interesting one to watch. - Species

Voter Scott Wheeler 67 Sound Birky Arvind Elseldo Gunnar Carlsson Achariya JP Nikota Species Steve Burtch Katya Knappe Acting The Fulemin 50 Mission Cap Chris H
Rank 24 24 22 23 - - - 23 21 21 24 24 - -

The Player

Stylistically, Korshkov is already a powerful presence at a young age and stands 6-3 and nearly 180 Ibs with a frame that could still allow for growth (his father Alexei played professional hockey in Eastern Europe at 6-5 and more than 240 Ibs for most of his career).

Poached by his own coach and Leafs KHL/MHL evaluator Yevgeny Namestnikov, Korshkov is the second prominent prospect Toronto has acquired (alongside Nikita Soshnikov) thanks to the KHL coach's suggestion.

After failing to wow in the MHL and on the internationals stage with just a lone goal in his draft year, Korshkov was passed up before taking considerable steps forward in his first post-draft season in 2014-15. After putting up 22 points in 23 games in the MHL, Korshkov quickly earned a promotion as a teenager to play in the KHL for half a season.

He has since gone on to add a full season with a competitive Lokomotiv team, where he played fourth line minutes (around 10 minutes a night) and still posted 12 points in 41 games before returning to the MHL for their playoff run to lead the team and the league in scoring with 19 points in 15 games, winning the championship along the way.

At the World Juniors, Korshkov also played a starring role on Russia's top line -- one of the best lines in the tournament.

Ranked 102nd by our staff at Future Considerations ahead of the 2016 NHL Draft, Korshkov is a left-handed shot who has traditionally played the right side. A rangy winger with some snarl, Korshkov is a stronger passer and gifted handler for his size.

Find an excerpt from the FC Draft Guide scouting report on Korshkov below:

Korshkov is a big, rangy power winger. He uses his large frame to his advantage in protecting the puck, to create his own working space and also to punish his opponents in the corners. He still has plenty of room to add considerable mass and strength as he is quite wiry. He is very mobile on the ice and is able to apply good forechecking pressure deep in the zone. He has great poise and puck control with soft hands; he’s able to push defensemen back on their heels as he challenges them. Korshkov has superior vision that allows him to dish terrific passes, even while at high speed. He is a constant threat around the crease because of his reach and puck skill. His shot is very strong, but he does not use it enough. He has some defensive inconsistencies in his game as one shift he can work hard to separate his opposition from the puck, support his teammates as an option and win board battles, while other times, he looks disinterested in any play inside his own blueline. The big Russian has played a lot of hockey this season and he has done well at every level he has played. Whether it has been with Lokomotiv in the KHL or with their MHL junior team, at the World Juniors, or in other international events, he has made strong offensive contributions in every situation.

I ranked Korshkov at No. 24 on my ranking in large part because his playoff run and production given his role in 2015-16 were impressive for his age, even if he was slow to develop and didn't impress in his first crack at the draft.

Korshkov's size and athleticism for a 6-3 winger are both standout traits, and while he wouldn't have been my pick at 31st overall, he has still played well enough in the last year and a half to merit being considered a legitimate NHL prospect.