Nation Network Prospect Profiles: #7 Mikhail Sergachyov

Mikhail Sergachyov built a strong case as the draft’s best defenceman in his first year with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. The Russian defender, who was selected sixth overall in the CHL Import Draft last summer, checks in as the seventh-ranked prospect in our consensus rankings.

The Spitfires played Sergachyov, an OHL rookie, primarily on their top pairing and used him in both phases of special teams. Sergachyov shined in those minutes, amassing the highest points, primary points and goals among first-time draft eligible defenceman in the OHL — well ahead of Olli Juolevi and Jakob Chychrun. Those accolades pushed Sergachyov up draft boards and built a strong case for his Max Kaminsky Trophy award, given to the CHL’s top defenceman. 

There’s a lot to like about Sergachyov and very few boxes unchecked on the long list of qualities one hopes for in a top pairing defender. Sergachyov can skate, hit, pass and is an ace in transition. He’s also a right-side defender, in spite of his left-handedness. Let’s take a look at this late-risers long-term NHL prospects, on the other side of the jump.

Bio:

  • Age: 17, 1998-06-25
  • Birthplace: Nizhnekamsk, Russia
  • Frame: 6’2″, 220 lbs.
  • Position: D
  • Handedness: L
  • Draft Year Team: Windsor Spitfires
  • Accomplishments/Awards: 14-15 EYOF Gold Medal, Most Assists, Most Assists by Defenceman, Most Points by Defenceman, U17 WHC Gold Medal 15-16 CHL Top Prospects Game, OHL First All-Rookie Team, First All-Star Team, Most Goals by Defenceman, Most Outstanding Defenceman 

Stats:

pGPS s pGPS n pGPS % pGPS P/GP pGPS R
13 11 84.6% 0.37 0.31

Read about pGPS here.

Scouts:

NHL (CSS) ISS FutureConsiderations HockeyProspect McKenzie McKeen’s Pronman Button
8 (NA) 10 8 8 8 9 17 10

From Corey Pronman, ESPN:

Sergachyov had a very strong rookie season in the OHL, displaying two-way abilities and putting up big counting numbers from the blue line. He was the youngest player ever to win the OHL Defenseman of the Year award. Sergachyov is a fantastic skater for a big man, showing a technically sound stride and an above-average first step. He moves the puck well, is a creative power-play quarterback showing good patience and vision, and has a rocket for a shot. Sergachyov wins battles, shuts down lanes due to his speed, frame and toughness, and has an edge to his game as well. His defensive positioning can use some tweaking, but he shows a decent amount of awareness in that area, even if I wouldn’t qualify his hockey IQ as high-end. He’s a player with a lot of upside.

From Craig Button, TSN:

Windsor Spitfires defenceman Mikhail Sergachyov (No. 10) can do it all. He’s an excellent skater with the quickness to jump into the attack and the requisite footwork to operate in tight areas and beat pressure. He has a very good shot and the smarts to get into offensive spots where he can make a contribution. He also can deliver body checks that make life unpleasant for opponents.

From Bob McKenzie, TSN:

Sergachev is a big, strong, elite-level skater with great productivity and a cannon shot from the point

From Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst:

Leads OHL defensemen in goals with 14 in 59 games through March 2nd…His 47 points ranks third among both defensemen and rookies…Recorded two points or more in 13 of his first 59 contests, including a pair of four-point games…Registered 29 points in his 29 games between December 11th and February 28th…Played for Team Orr in the 2016 CHL Top Prospects Game…2014-15: Appeared in 25 games for Irbis Kazan in the MHL, scoring a pair of goals and adding six assists…Played for Team Russia at the World U17 Hockey Challenge, where he picked up a goal in six games…Represented Russia in five games at the 2015 Under-18 World Championship.

From Peter Harling, Dobber Prospects:

Sergachev takes full advantage of his big body and does not hesitate to throw his weight around to clear the crease or turn over the puck. He moves very efficiently and has quick feet for a bigger player. His offensive game has developed significantly with his offensive contributions coming more on the man advantage in my viewings. He has all the tools to become a minute munching NHL top pairing defenseman.

Our Take:

There isn’t a better defenceman in this year’s draft than Sergachyov. Not in my estimation. I had him ranked fifth when compiling our rankings for a consensus list and selected him fifth overall in a mock draft at www.TheBloggersTribune.com.

Sergachyov is an excellent skater that can carry the puck through traffic and use his frame to protect the puck in close quarters. His head’s always up and looking for an outlet, though he’s just as content to carry the puck himself. He reminds me most of Alexander Edler, though one scout I spoke to felt Mattias Ohlund was a better match.

When viewed through the lens of pGPS, Sergachyov checks out as having a 72.7% chance of making it to the NHL based on players matching his statistical and stature based profile. That’s the third-highest mark among draft eligible defenders.

Jeremy Crowe of BuckeyeStateHockey was kind enough to provide some of the underlying data he manually tracked for Sergachyov. It’s tough to get a clear picture of where he stands as a possession player, but overall there’s reason for encouragement.

Sergachyov’s Corsi for in these games hovers at about 46%. The qualifier for those numbers, though, is that for half the games tracked he played primarily alongside Logan Stanley. In the three games alongside Stanley, Sergachyov was in the red by Corsi For. In the three games away from Stanley, he was in the black. It’s fair to wonder then how much Sergachyov was weighed down by playing alongside Stanley.

This isn’t to say Sergachyov is perfect, though. Not by any stretch. He can be reckless with the puck on occasion and could stand to work on his reads from the defensive zone. Luckily for Sergachyov and whichever team drafts him, these are fixable flaws.

Sergachyov is still an attractive defenceman, that could find himself taken anywhere in the 7-20 range of the draft. In all likelihood, his draft position will undersell his upside and the team that’s lucky enough to make the investment will reap huge rewards. 


Nation Network Draft Profiles

Prospect Profile #8: Jakob Chychrun Prospect Profile #9: Olli Juolevi (D)
Prospect Profile #10: Tyson Jost (C) Prospect Profile #11: Alexander Nylander (RW/LW)
Prospect Profile #12: Jake Bean (D) Prospect Profile #13: Kieffer Bellows (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #14: Michael McLeod (C) Prospect Profile #15: Logan Brown (C)
Prospect Profile #16: Julien Gauthier (RW) Prospect Profile #17: Dante Fabbro (D)
Prospect Profile #18: Charlie McAvoy (D) Prospect Profile #19: Luke Kunin (C)
Prospect Profile #20: Alex Debrincat (C/LW) Prospect Profile #21: Vitali Abramov (RW)
Prospect Profile #22: Max Jones (W/C) Prospect Profile #23: Pascal Laberge (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #24: Tage Thompson (C/RW) Prospect Profile #25: German Rubtsov (C)
Prospect Profile #26: Samuel Girard (D) Prospect Profile #27: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #28: Will Bitten (C) Prospect Profile #29: Tyler Benson (LW)
Prospect Profile #30: Carl Grundstrom (LW) Prospect Profiles #60 – #31 (2nd Round)
  • Foximus

    I’d love to see the Canucks get this guy buy can’t see it happening at the expense of Dubois.

    We have talked lots about trading down but I just don’t trust Benning to do that well.

    Sergachyov looks like a player and has everything Benning covets (size and nasty)

    AND he plays the right side – unexpected bonus.

    If we somehow get this kid I can see Gudbranson becoming a 3rd pairing dman sooner than later.

  • andyg

    I agree that he is the best defense man in the draft. He is the only one this year who could become a number one guy.(my opinion)
    His mobility mixed with his size make him a very enticing package.

    We need a number one center and a number one D. So who knows, if Dubois is gone then maybe Benning goes to this guy.

  • Cageyvet

    The more we examine the talents in the 4-12 range, the more it becomes clear why the #5 selection is in play.

    I remain unconvinced that Tkachuk or Dubois is a significantly better prospect than any of the top 3 defenseman or even someone like Nylander that might not go in the top 10.

    Particularly if Dubois ends up at winger.

    A big winger playing centre for half a season in the QMJHL does not necessarily make him a centre.

    Would Dubois have been able to experiment at centre in either the OHL or the WHL?

    Neither Tkachuk or Dubois is an Ovechkin, P Kane or Hall type of prospect.

    That distinction is reserved for Laine and possibly Puuljaarvi.

    So if we are not getting a franchise type of winger prospect, does it really make sense to fixate on Tkachuk or Dubois?

    Every and all trade avenues should be explored.

    • #12MorrisLukowich

      Just to put things in perspective as you said, that’s your opinion.

      “Neither Tkachuk or Dubois is an Ovechkin, P Kane or Hall type of prospect.”

      How about Benn, Kopitar, Terasenko, Getzlaf, Kessel, Couturier…. all projected to be “solid” forwards. All draft at 5 or later, all now top-line or franchise type players.

      Draft best available, then develop them. You never know.

      Having said all that, I don’t have a problem with trading a few spots down and picking up a D like Sergachyov, as long as the return is worth it.

      • Foximus

        Your list of players is exactly why the Canucks would be better of trading down.

        Nobody on draft day knew those players would be any better than the players selected ahead of them.

        If there isn’t any real separation among prospects, it is best to add another draft pick or two, in my opinion.

  • Foximus

    i agree he’s the most talented dman in the draft.

    but drafting a flashy but incomplete russian player to me carries a lot of risks. the khl option, distractions from home, and a tendency to sulk and get into conflict are all concerns. if we had a larionov on the roster i’d say take him, but we have the sedins.

    i’d say juolevi is a more complete player and a better bet for the canucks. there is a Scandinavian reception committee for him on the current roster, and a very long list of scandinavians who have settled in nicely in vancouver and met or exceeded expectations, and very few failures. it might be the city, landscape, climate, or politics, but i don’t recall a scandinavian player ever asking for a trade out of here.

    • andyg

      This is the same dullard mindset that didn’t mind trading the 2010 1st rounder with Kuznetsov on the board…

      Washington surely appreciates Gillis’ parochial thinking.

      Go jump in a lake…

      • andyg

        You’re right, that one’s totally on Gills for trading the 25 pick (used on Howden) and not on TB for picking Connoly at the 6, Dallas for taking Campbell at 11, LA for selecting Forbort at 14 or Phoenix for taking Gormley at 13 instead of Kuznetsov at 26. It was literally only Gillis who missed out on him.

        • andyg

          Straight up delusional…

          How many Russians/KHL players did Gillis draft in 6 years as general manager?

          Zero…

          How many Russian/KHL players did Florida (Kulikov), Tampa (several), Dallas (Nichushkin), LA (Voynov), Phoenix (Tikhonov) select?

          A willingness to select KHLers is the first step…

          The Canucks were never going to select Kuznetsov simply BECAUSE of the risk associated with KHLers.

          Florida, Tampa, Dallas, LA & Phoenix were under no such delusions…

        • Cageyvet

          If you read Krutov’s original comment, it is quite clear that he wants to avoid Sergachev simply BECAUSE he is Russian.

          “drafting a flashy but incomplete russian player to me carries a lot of risks. the khl option, distractions from home, and a tendency to sulk and get into conflict are all concerns.”

          The only word he or she forgot to use is “enigmatic”.

          Detroit, Tampa & Washington have done very well by not cutting themselves off of the Russian pipeline.

          The previous regime refused to select Russians altogether.

          I am quite glad Benning has been willing to select talented players like Tryamkin and Zhukenov.

          At the very least, it is POSSIBLE for Benning to select Sergachev.

          That is a step in the right direction.

          • Foximus

            Refusing to draft Russians is only ONE of many of Gillis’ flaws when it comes to drafting. But we should also not pretend that this was a Canucks-only problem nor that it was one of anti-Russian bias alone. The arrival of the KHL and other options for Russian (and other European) players has played a big role in the drafting or avoidance of them in recent years. Between 1992 and 2002 roughly 30 Russians a year were being selected, with a low around 20 and a high at 47. Between 2007 and 2013 less than 10 were selected each year, with 2014 finally bringing some more picks to the mix.

            I’m also glad that a guy like Sergachev could be picked (though I’d still rank Juolevi and CHychrun above him). But I don’t think that possibility has anything to do with Benning being less parochial than Gillis.

          • BR(j)ED

            While avoiding Russians was only one issue with drafting under Gillis, it is the specific issue that is being discussed here.

            And other teams – such as Tampa, Washington & Detroit – directly benefitted from Vancouver pulling out of the Russian talent pool.

            Did any other team completely avoid Russians/KHLers like Vancouver did for a 6 year period?

            And what about Russians being selected from 2003-2006?

            Just because fewer Russians were being selected collectively from 2007-2013 does not mean that Russians were being avoided altogether by other, successful organizations.

            I would argue that Russians during 2007-2013 were a market inefficiency and franchise players such as Tarasenko, Kuznetsov and Kucherov could only be selected where they were selected precisely because the previous regime was close-minded towards this talent pool.

          • #12MorrisLukowich

            Between 2007-2013 Detroit selected one Russian — Alexey Marchenko in the 7th round in 2011. Washington selected 4 — Kuzentzov and three (Dmitri Kugryshev a 2nd rounder in 2008, Stanislav Galiev a 3rd rounder in 2010, and Sergei Kostenko, a 7th rounder in 2012). TB chose five — three very good picks in 2011 with Nesterov, Kucherov and Namestnikov and another excellent one in Vasilevsky the next year.

            That’s not exactly an enormous abundance of players — Kuznetzov, Vasilevsky and Kucherov are especially good, but players that multiple other teams (including Detroit for example) whiffed on. Such is the draft.

          • Cageyvet

            PB, love your posts, but a piece of advice – you should probably refrain from playing mind games with NM00/Sean. It’s really not fair to fight the unarmed.

          • Cageyvet

            I really wish they would ban him but as many others have pointed out it’s probably one of the CA staff posting for trolling/click-bait purposes and it usually works. Not too surprising that he has reappeared during a lull in Canucks-related news and content

          • Cageyvet

            I hear you. I’ve tried to refrain from responding to NM00 as much as I have in the past, and adopt a policy of clicking thumbs down without even reading it, lol. Plus, I really don’t mind anyone responding to him, it was just a chance for me to try and be mildly witty while pointing out the Grand Canyon-sized gap between the quality of your respective posts. Cheers.

  • andyg

    Every time guys without high level hockey IQ come along, we hear it’s a fixable flaw. I’d love to see how often these 17-and-18 year olds have sudden epiphanies and become hockey Einsteins.

    A guy who dominates junior at 6’2″ 220 scares me. If he’s spent the last year learning bad habits because he can dominate people physically, what is he going to do in a league full of men? The NHL game is fast and tough and guys who can’t consistently make good decisions quickly under pressure get eaten alive.

    I’m happier with Chris Tanev than Erik Johnson, and I don’t trust kids without high-end decision making skills or instincts to suddenly put it together.

  • andyg

    In other news the Blackhawks just traded Teuvo Teravainen just to get rid of Bickell’s contract, receiving only a 2nd rounder, a 3rd (next year) and salary cap relief in return. I hope that splashes some cold water on what we might expect IF we could divest ourselves of Burrows or Higgins or on the market rate in a salary cap world

  • Foximus

    I watched quite a few Spitfire games this season, and there is no chance he falls to 20.

    I agree with CA’s call that he’s the best of the three top CHL defensemen, but its a close call.

    A bit of a stretch, however, with the No 5 pick.

  • Cageyvet

    @sean

    i didn’t say i want to avoid sergachyav because he is russian, i said he is talented but carried risks because he is russian and because he is an incomplete player.

    i said i preferred juolevi, because he is a more complete player and because he is scandinavian.

    if it was not very close i’d say take sergachyev.

    and the nationality issue is at least as much because of the canuck’s track record with scandinavians as it because of the well known issues with russians.

    here’s a list of scandinavians who have been drafted or emerged as canucks and either met or exceeded their perceived potential when the canucks acquired them.

    gradin
    sundstrom
    skriko
    lumme
    ohlund
    ruutu
    salo
    sedins
    edler
    hanson

    here’s a list of notable canuck failures with scandinavian draft picks or signings/trades compared to expectations when they were acquired

    sundin
    jenson

    try to make comparable lists of canadian players fitting the same criterion who have played for the canucks over the same time period. you also cannot make a better list of scandinavian players on that criterion from any other team in the league.

    the canucks are not a first tier team in this league to play for either by glorious team history, taxes or general perception. many players of all nationalities would rank the canucks well down the list of where they want to play. but scandinavians seem to like it here.

    so i think the canucks play to their strength on a close call.

  • Foximus

    I agree with those that would consider trading down, esp to 7, 8, or 9 to grab a dman. I haven’t seen any of them play, but Sergachev seems like the most exciting. What would be fair value to trade down to one of those spots? Sounds like Benning wants a roster players, but would the corresponding 2nd rounder be enough? Like Montreal ‘s 1/2 rounders for Canucks 1st?

    Btw, what do scouts look for in hockey IQ? Seems like ability to stay away from trouble. Someone who scores a lot probably knows how to move and position himself. My guess is Sergachev isn’t low on IQ (like Bartkowski) so much as is willing to take risks.

  • BR(j)ED

    It seems generally accepted that Sergachyov is the most “developed” D man in the draft this year, but is that really the player we want to draft?

    It seems that Juilovii and Fabbro (and maybe others) have a far higher hockey I/Q and argueably far greater upside due to that fact.

    With the way our defense is set up, we don’t have a need to draft the most NHL ready d man. We can afford properly develop our guy (as long as we select the right one), and have the perfect environment to foster thw francise d man we all crave.

  • Foximus

    Sergachev could complement Gudbranson nicely, especially if the latter is more of a stay at home defenseman. So could Juolevi or possibly Jake Bean.

    I agree with what others are saying. It seems to be a bit of a wash from 4 to almost the middle of the first round. Benning might do well to trade down if he gets the right offer.

  • Gonzo Hockey

    dubois is a machine

    canucks would be foolish to pass on him

    these men are frail, and will all end up like yandle – krug or enstrom

    decent, but only #4 or 5 dmen

    these types of players get chances because they are slick and skate well, but get nothing done out there

    why not go with a hamhuis type in 2nd round….johansen or luke green (who will be a player!)

  • #12MorrisLukowich

    Any team that wastes a draft pick on a Russian should replace it’s management.

    To be clear…the #1 combine question for a Rusky:
    How much of Europe do you think you’re entitled to ?