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‘C’ That? Avalanche Prospect Goes Off In Season Opener



colorado avalanche nikolai Kovalenko khl nhl

The hype for Colorado Avalanche prospect Nikolai Kovalenko is off the charts right now.

And if he consistently plays like he did in the season opening game for Torpedo, I won’t blame people if they can’t control themselves.

About 10 days ago, Kovalenko was named an assistant captain for Torpedo prior to the regular season starting.

I’m not sure what happened, but in their first game against Lokomotiv, he had the ‘C’ on his chest. And he made sure to lead by example.

His stat line at the end of the night read like this…

  • 1 goal (even strength), 1 assist (powerplay)
  • 17:56 TOI (led forwards), 23 shifts, led forwards in shorthanded TOI
  • 2 shots on goal, 7 hits, 2 takeaways, +1

Igor Larionov said he wanted to prepare Kovalenko for joining the top six of the Avalanche at the end of the season. This is one heck of a start.

Kovalenko got everything started for his team, scoring on his second shift of the game on a loose puck in front of the net.

He picked up a primary assist on the powerplay later in the game, backhanding the puck to his teammate in the slot, who wired one past the goaltender.

The scoring is all well and good, but what should get everyone excited about Kovalenko is the rest of his game. He’s trusted in all situations, and he’s a menace on the forecheck. That’s the part of his game that gives you hope that he can carve out an NHL career, even if it isn’t in the top six.

I mean, just look at this.

I have no intention of updating Kovalenko on a game-to-game basis on this site, but it’s still early in September, so there’s not much to talk about. Still, a lot of Avalanche fans can’t wait to see him join the team after his KHL season ends.

This is exactly why.

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