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Avalanche Snag KHL Playoff MVP With First Draft Pick, Ilya Nabokov

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Ilya Nabokov NHL Draft avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche have struggled to develop goaltenders at the NHL level, so why not snag one who is a little older and has a pedigree?

With the 38th pick in the NHL Draft, Colorado selected goaltender Ilya Nabokov. At 21 years old, he’s one of the older selections in the draft, but he has been spectacular in the KHL. No, that’s not an exaggeration.

This past season, Nabokov was named the KHL Playoff MVP after posting a .942 save percentage in 23 postseason games, going 16-6-0, helping his team win the KHL title. His regular season numbers were not really that much worse, as he posted a .930 save percentage and went 23-13-3. At 6’1″, he’s not a big guy, but the numbers speak for themselves. The KHL has produced a number of quality goaltenders in recent years, including Ilya Sorokin, Igor Shesterkin, and even Pavel Francouz. A

For those wondering, Nabokov’s KHL contract expires after this coming season, which also happens to be the same time Alexandar Georgiev’s contract expires with the Avalanche. Colorado Hockey Now reached out to Nabokov’s representation, and received the following statement.

“He is very pleased. We are grateful to the management of Avalanche for their trust. I’m sure he’ll justify it,” Nabokov’s agent, Shumi Babaev said.

But when will he come to North America?

“We’ll make a decision soon,” Bubaev said.

Babaev also represents Yakov Trenin and Zakhar Bardakov, who the Avalanche acquired at the trade deadline for Kurtis MacDermid. Bardakov has interest in coming to North America after this coming season. Colorado seems very comfortable taking players out of the KHL, as they drafted Mikhail Gulyayev in the first round last summer.

I will have a full scouting report on Nabokov soon with some quotes from folks over in Russia. I guess the Avalanche want me to continue watching KHL hockey, and that’s fine by me.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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