Connect with us

Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Could Find Alexei Kolosov Backup Plan in 2024 NHL Draft

Published

on

Philadelphia Flyers news

The Philadelphia Flyers might need to bolster their goaltending corps through the 2024 NHL Draft, in short order.

On Thursday, it was reported that Flyers goalie prospect Alexei Kolosov could leave the organization in order to return to play for Dinamo Minsk of the KHL in his home country of Belarus. While there are several logistical hoops Kolosov would need to jump through to make that happen, his purported difficulty in adjusting to life in North America should be enough to make the Flyers want to prepare a contingency plan.

And right now, few draft-eligible goalie prospects could give them that as well as 21-year-old KHL star Ilya Nabokov can. Nabokov, of course, doesn’t come without risk, but he’s shown his star power on some of the biggest stages like few others in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Playing in the KHL for the very first time this year, Nabokov compiled a 23-13-3 record for Metallurg Magnitogorsk, posting a 2.15 GAA, a .930 save percentage, and three shutouts. The 21-year-old was even more dominant in the Gagarin Cup playoffs, going 16-6-0 with a 1.82 GAA, a .942 save percentage, and four shutouts en route to winning the Gagarin Cup and being named the KHL Playoffs MVP.

The last goalie to be named the MVP of the Gagarin Cup playoffs? None other than New York Islanders superstar goalie Ilya Sorokin.

Sorokin isn’t the only goalie who will come up in conversation when talking about Nabokov. Evgeni Nabokov, the San Jose Sharks’ Director of Goaltending who is not related to Ilya, believes the younger Nabokov is similar to Nashville Predators All-Star Juuse Saros.

Saros, who is notably a 5-foot-11, has been one of the NHL’s best netminders for the last five years.

“To be honest, he is very similar to Juuse Saros from Nashville if you look at how he plays,” Nabokov told MatchTV, loosely translated from Russian. “There is even a little more height. A similar style, very fast legs, good hands, and also great reflexes and the ability to read the game. Yes, he has something from Saros.”

21 years old, playing in the KHL for the first time, and being compared to Saros? That’s not bad at all.

“I think some NHL club will not pass by. But I will not argue. I don’t know what other teams think about him,” Evgeni Nabokov added. “When a guy at this age shows such a solid game in the final of the Gagarin Cup and is not afraid of this moment and pressure, it is very valuable, and many will now look at this picture differently.”

After the end of the 2023-24 season, Ilya Nabokov was awarded the Alexei Cherepanov Award, as he was recognized as the best KHL rookie this year. He was also awarded a KHL Golden Helmet for being one of the KHL’s six best players of the season. Alexander Nikishin and Robin Press represented the defenders, while Nikita Gusev, Nikolay Goldobin, and Vladimir Tkachev represented the forwards.

As for coming to North America and potentially joining the Flyers, the Metallurg shot-stopper has one more year left on his contract in the KHL. After that, he should be free to move onto the NHL or AHL if he chooses.

Get PHHN+ today!

Get PhHN in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.

Flyers Cap Info

Copyright © 2023 National Hockey Now and Philadelphia Hockey Now. In no way affiliated with the Philadelphia Flyers or the National Hockey League.