2016 NHL Draft Radar: Mikhail Sergachev

Playing a sport in another country has to be one of the oddest feelings in the world. You already have the pressure of playing the sport in a way that may not be passable to a team. Not to mention the language barrier would be difficult as well. To succeed on top of it would seem damn near impossible. So when the Windsor Spitfires’ Mikhail Sergachev started to climb draft rankings, he turned some heads along the way. Where does he land among defenders this year?

Sergachev is the ninth ranked skater among North American skaters according to NHL CS rankings.

The Stats

A highly touted player selected in the CHL Import Draft, Sergachev had a great season this year in the OHL. His time in the junior league of Russia was much less successful and it isn’t entirely clear why that is the case. He didn’t perform very well at the World Junior events either. That likely won’t cause any teams to pass him over but it did seem odd from my perspective. On a good Spitfires team, he led the OHL in goals be a defenseman, not an easy thing to do with certain offensively minded players in the league. 

The Eye Test

Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects had this to say about Sergachev:

“A dominant two-way defenceman whose tenacity and competitiveness characterize his style of play. Plays with a poise and confidence that facilitates his creativity with the puck as well as split-second decision making. Naturally fluid skater who is always looking to be engaged, if not the center, of each unfolding play. All-in-all, a diligent two-way defenceman who excels at finding ways to be a difference-maker in games.”

Jeremy Crowe of Buckeye State Hockey and NHL Numbers had this to say about the slick Sergachev:

“Mikhail Sergachev is already the best skater of the group, with quick acceleration, tight turning ability, and very good open-ice speed. He has a great shot, one which he should probably use more, but also is a smooth passer. Sergachev is arguably the most “raw” talent defensively, but conversely has the highest offensive potential of the trio. Putting up 17 goals in the OHL in a first-time eligible season isn’t done too often. In fact, the last time a first-time eligible defenseman scored as many or more was when Cody Ceci put up 17 in 2011/12 for the Ottawa 67s.”

Does he fit with the Red Wings?

Without a doubt, he does. The defenseman of the future is in this draft and the Wings would love to add him to their prospect stable. A lot of mock drafts have him being selected by the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the draft. These types of mock drafts remain fluid and are hard to really pin down. The “Big 3” defensemen are all going to be coveted but one is bound to fall. If it ends up being Sergachev, the Red Wings are going to be all over it. Trading up in the draft is always difficult and only a few teams could really be targeted. Unfortunately, a player of his stature won’t be available at their current spot. The pressure to improve is immense in Detroit, is this the big fish they want to land?