Mark
Dubreuil
December 12, 2021

2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Danila Yurov

Danila Yurov or Ivan Miroshnichenko? 

There’s plenty of reason to anoint either as the top Russian-born skater for the 2022 NHL Draft. 

Plenty of reason to debate between the contrasting high-end forwards, too.

And the case for Yurov is a good one.

The 6-foot-1 forward is a highly skilled, left-shot winger that hails from Chelyabinsk, Russia and is currently playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) for Metallurg Magnitogorsk as a 17-year-old. He has yet to register a point in 18 games, although limited ice time accounts for some of that. 

Yurov started the season on fire with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in only six games while playing in the top Russian junior league, the Molodezhnaya Hockey League (MHL) for Stasnye Lisy. 

“Yurov is an incredible two-way presence that plays with incredibly high competitiveness,” said Josh Bell, head of crossover scouting with FCHockey. “This combined with his above-average on-ice intelligence make him an extremely dynamic prospect in this draft. When he’s not impressing with how hard he battles, he’s catching the eyes of scouts due to his ability to drive the play at any level he plays at.”

So let’s dive a little deeper into the hockey traits of Yurov to discover what might make him the top Russian player selected at the 2022 NHL draft.

WHO IS DANILA YUROV?

Danila Yurov is 6-foot-1 and 179 pounds and has a late birthday, born on December 22, 2003. He is a smooth skating and skilled forward who has put up impressive numbers in the Metallurg system the past few seasons.

His draft ranking for the 2022 NHL draft falls anywhere within the top-10 for the most part, and he has been given an ‘A’ grade by the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list — designating him as a potential first-round candidate.

Yurov is slotted at No. 5 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2022 draft.

STATISTICAL LOOK

Yurov has put up decent numbers at every level and some of his point-per-game averages rank him amongst some of the best in MHL history. 

Last year in the MHL, Yurov registered 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games, with a 1.09 points-per-game, which ranks him ahead of other notable NHL Russian players in their D-1 seasons, such as Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov (1.02), St. Louis Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich (0.98) and Rodion Amirov (0.84), the No. 15 pick of the 2020 NHL Draft of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

This current 2021-2022 season has been even more impressive for Yurov while playing in the MHL. He’s on a 2.00 points-per-game pace. 

To put it in perspective, Kucherov had 1.41 points-per-game, New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin had a 1.16 points-per-game rate, and Amirov had a 1.29 points-per-game pace in their draft years in the MHL.

It’d be tough for Yurov to maintain that pace with such a small sample size, but it still demonstrates that he has good offensive capabilities playing against players his own age. 

Yurov’s play in the KHL has been less successful, though. 

Last season he logged only two points (one goal, one assist) in 22 games. This season he has zero points in 18 games. He is only averaging 4:48 minutes of ice time per game and only 7.5 shifts-per-game, however, so we can’t really use his KHL numbers as an indication of his abilities based on the limited ice time he is receiving. 

We can look to recent action on the international stage though. Yurov has also had an impressive resume while representing Russia. 

Last year at the 2021 IIHF World-Under 18 Championship in Texas, he helped his country bring home a silver medal with an impressive 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games. Miroshnichenko, his teammate, who ended up with eight points (six goals, two assists) in seven games. 

YUROV’S STRENGTHS

The one positive strength that stands out for Yurov is his ability to find open space when he’s in and around the house. Most of his goals and scoring chances are set up with his continued movement near the goal mouth. He has great awareness of where to go when he doesn’t have the puck and getting open for his teammates to set him up for high percentage scoring chances. 

“What stands out most about Yurov is his competitiveness,” Bell said. “No matter the situation, whether it’s on the power play or penalty kill, start of the game or the last minute, Yurov plays all-out from his entire shift. This makes him extremely difficult to play against as he seems to always be on top of the opponents. 

“When you combine this with his impressive skill, you have a player that any team would want to have on their side.”

Yurov also has a good work ethic along the wall and while battling for pucks. He uses his size well, but will need to fill out more and become stronger in order to be successful at the next level against men. 

YUROV’S AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS

One area of improvement that Yurov needs to work on is his shot selection in the offensive zone. He tends to take low percentage shots, either trying to get pucks through traffic or from odd areas while on the ice, causing him to miss the net. There are times when he should hold on to the puck a little longer or dish it off instead of shooting. 

“When you get down to the gritty details of his game, his shot is something that could stand to improve in order to reach the next level,” Bell said. “He doesn’t alway pick the best shot on the ice to shoot from, getting looks from the outside of the house rather than driving the middle. 

“I’d also like to see him work on improving the power he gets behind his shot, as some of his attempts can lack the strength that you’d like to see with a top prospect.”

Another area that needs some improvement is his defensive play. 

There are times when he lacks urgency when backchecking. He seems to be waiting for a transitional play instead of supporting his team defensively. These are traits that can be worked on, but in order to be a reliable player in the NHL, all facets of the game must be well polished. 

SUMMARY

Yurov is destined to be chosen in the first round of the 2022 draft. 

How high he is chosen will be determined by a few factors, including improvement on his defensive play and his occasional poor shot selection. He does have the offensive capabilities to be an impact player at the next level, it just depends on how he continues to develop. 

The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be a good eye test for a lot of the 2022 draft eligible prospects, including Yurov. His play there could determine either an increase or decrease in his stock value moving forward. 

Will he be the top Russian player selected at this year’s NHL draft? 

We will just have to wait until July.

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