The Toronto Maple Leafs won’t have to travel far to get a closer look at Dmitry Ovchinnikov.
According the Ovchinnikov’s agent — Shumi Babaev — the Russian prospect’s loan with KHL club Sibir has expired and that Maple Leafs management told the player he will spend next season in North America.
The 20-year-old was selected by the Maple Leafs in the fifth round (137th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft. He registered five goals and eight assists in 68 games for Sibir Novosibirsk this past season. Upon conclusion of his season in the KHL, Ovchinnikov joined the Marlies and played in four games but did not register any points. He also joined the Marlies for seven games last season after his KHL season concluded and scored two goals in seven games.
It’s not clear if Ovchinnikov will be in attendance for Leafs development camp when it is expected to open in early July.
Ovchinnikov exhibits impressive offensive skills that could earn him a regular place in the Marlies’ top-six lineup, while also maintaining a responsible defensive style.
He isn’t the biggest player at 5-foot-11 and 181 pounds, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed, showcasing a fast-paced playing style, aggressively attacking the inside, skillfully maneuvering through traffic, executing eye-catching net drives, and creating passing opportunities for his teammates.
Defensively, Ovchinnikov’s decision-making and discipline are refined, contributing to his effectiveness on that end of the ice.
A full season with Marlies should give the Maple Leafs a better understanding of their prospect. Ovchinnikov is in the final year of his contract.
Source: The Hockey News