On June 4th the KHL held its second ever entry draft. It's pretty screwed up. To wit, one of the guys selected was John Tavares but that selection was voided because he's already under NHL contract. Two other teams also picked players under NHL contracts and had their selections voided which lets you know that these teams understand the rules of their own draft about as well as Rick Olczyk understands the CBA. The first overall pick was a kid named Dmitry Yashkin, a Russian who plays in the Czech Republic. I'd never heard of him, so I looked him up at eliteprospects and hockeydb. Apparently they've never heard of him either. What. The. Hell. But the craziness didn't end there...The second overall pick was Sami Vatanen, a pint-sized defenseman chosen 106th overall by the Anaheim Ducks a year ago. That's a pretty weird pick, but hey, at least the internet has heard of this guy. Plus, he's probably not good enough to even contemplate playing in the NHL unless Derek runs a team of Finns (and even then...) so he may end up actually playing for them. Another top five pick was Martin Marincin, the prospect Derek wrote about as a possible 2nd round pick for the Oilers this year. So there's a real prospect. Some other real prospects were chosen too! Because teams are allowed to select players as young as 17, one team gambled that Adam Larsson would play in the KHL and took him with the 17th overall pick. Surely, Lokomotiv will end up disappointed, much like Ak Bars Kazan must have been when Taylor Hall decided to play in Windsor instead of Tatarstan this past year. My bet? The Oilers take Hall with the first overall pick only to get bogged down in negotiations when they refuse to give him the full bonus package and watch him flee to Russia. I hear it's warmer there.
Some other Oilers may even join him! Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson was taken 19th overall by Lokomotiv in 2009 but seems to have spurned their advances. That didn't stop Spartak from selecting Paajarvi's teammate with Timra, Anton Lander, with the 149th pick this year. Somehow, I doubt the story will have a different ending. The other Oiler prospect taken this year was Olivier Roy who was chosen 88th overall by Barys. Congratulations to Roy on being the top Canadian selected! Riley Nash was also on the list of one hundred eligible North Americans, but I guess the Russians figured they wouldn't be able to convince him to leave Cornell. Trust us guys, it's not easy.
As for how these guys get on the list, I have no clue. I do know that 690 guys made the cut, but how they did it is a mystery. In total, there were 188 (valid) players chosen over the seven-round draft, including 77 non-Russians. How many of those guys actually play in Russia is a totally different discussion. I'd bet somewhere around 7.