When he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Draft, few Jets fans took notice of Mikhail Berdin and really there was not much reason to with the team already stacked in the goaltending prospect department. Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson were at the top of the prospect pool with Eric Comrie all but anointed the team’s future franchise goalie, but with Comrie’s development having stalled out a bit and Hutchinson having left for another NHL team, Berdin’s steady improvement from his junior days to his first true pro season this past year has caught the attention of many fans and prospect watchers alike.
Of course, it also didn’t hurt that he scored an empty net goal scored in 2017 which was made all the more memorable by his legendary multi-celly afterwards…
- Born: Mar 8, 1998 (Age 21)
- Birthplace: Ufa, RUSSIA
- Position: Goaltender
- Catches: Left
- Frame: 6’2″ / 163 lbs
- Drafted: 2016 – 6th Round – 157 Overall
- Played Last Year: Manitoba Moose (AHL) / Jacksonville IceMen (ECHL)
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“It was Winnipeg’s decision. There are very good conditions here, and it’s not far from Winnipeg.” (On joining the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL)
Behind the Mask With Mikhail Berdin – The Hockey Writers (Mar 23, 2017)
“When I’m like 14 years old, I watch Martin Brodeur,” said Berdin. “He’s an unbelievable goalie who can play with the puck. I watch him and I work at it. In workouts, I work with hands with he puck and every guy’s laughing at me, like ‘why do you do this? You’re a goalie. You don’t need this.’ And I say, ‘you never know. I like this, I want to do this. Don’t worry about me. And maybe we’ll see.’
Berdin likes pucks, will shoot, but Jets goalie prospect hasn’t lost sight of top priority – Winnipeg Sun (Jun 28, 2019)
What We Said At The Time:
At 6’2 Berdin is not overly large for the modern goaltender, but he does have some size. He is a fairly reflexive goaltender and can play fairly dynamically at times. His play style would be more comparable to Eric Comrie rather than Connor Hellebuyck, although he’s even more extreme in flash than even Comrie.
What We Say Now:
Mikhail Berdin has had the luxury of developing without any real added pressure beyond whatever he put upon himself. The Jets haven’t needed him to be a franchise goalie at any point with the emergence of Hellebuyck and if not for injuries the Jets would have been content to let Berdin stay a full season in Jacksonville before giving him a look in the AHL the following year. It’s injuries though that necessitated some time in the next level and though it was a bit shaky at times, Berdin responded beautifully. So much so that suddenly it’s more likely that Berdin and Comrie share the Moose net this season rather than Berdin be his understudy.
As it is, Comrie still remains an unsigned RFA for the Jets which will be something to watch going forward. Rumors are that he 24 year old Comrie wants more of an opportunity to make an NHL club – something the Jets likely don’t feel comfortable with at this time given their status with Hellebuyck and Laurent Brossoit. Berdin could be looking at some serious playing time in the AHL early on and another good year for him with the Moose should make for an interesting decision for the Jets next summer when Brossoit’s contract is expired and the Jets will be looking for a backup goalie option but also needing to keep an eye on the expansion draft coming up a year later in 2021.
For right now though, Berdin is progressing nicely in the Jets system and as he gets more comfortable with the English language, his big personality will be a hit with fans and teammates alike. Don’t be surprised next year if you see Berdin in the top three of this prospect list.