The Colorado Avalanche don’t have much in terms of high-end prospects, but one of their better prospects had a dynamite season over in Russia.
As we reported back in February, it doesn’t appear as though Nikolai Kovalenko will be coming over to North America until 2024. The 23 year old forward had far and away his best season in the KHL. Before the season, he switched teams, signing a two-year contract with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, which allowed him a chance to play under hockey legend Igor Larionov.
His “pass-first mentality” really clicked under Larionov, who was always one of the more creative players when he played. He ended up leading Torpedo in points, with 54 in 56 games. When the playoffs rolled around, he was their leading scorer again, picking up seven points in 10 games.
The former 6th round draft pick plays a pretty heavy game, despite not being the biggest player in the world. He is pretty thick, and goes to the hard areas of the ice to score his goals. A concussion severely limited how much he played in 2021-22, and staying healthy and truly establishing himself next year will play a big role in getting him to North America, because he does not want to play in the AHL. The Avalanche could certainly use him.
For now, take a look at some of his highlights from the past season. I’d love to do a film room on him, but KHL matches are a little more difficult to hunt down. Most of these clips are from this season, with a few sprinkled in from before then, so enjoy. Next season, I’m sure he’ll provide more to hold over Avalanche fans until he makes it to North America.
— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) March 2, 2023
— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) January 10, 2023
Artyom Galimov with the secondary and Nikolai Kovalenko with the primary assist here.
— Russian Prospects (@RUSProspects) October 7, 2021
— KHL (@khl_eng) March 18, 2023
Meet Torpedo's new points leader — Nikolai Kovalenko (53 pts, 54 GP). pic.twitter.com/L3SfVdy9cv
— KHL (@khl_eng) February 20, 2023
Nice lead pass from Nikolai Kovalenko (COL 6th/2018) to spring Vladimir Butuzov (1994) for the breakaway tally. This made it 3-1 Russia over Finland at the Beijer games. pic.twitter.com/vtXCRLTiz9
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) February 11, 2021
Nikolai Kovalenko aprontando de novo, recupera o disco na zona defensiva e quase consegue o passe para o shorthanded gol. pic.twitter.com/ep0Z2mDvhO
— Liga Kontinental (@LigaKontinental) February 11, 2021
Nikolai Kovalenko. Russian tank. pic.twitter.com/DyjfefIuAx
— KHL (@khl_eng) November 2, 2020