NEWARK, New Jersey, July 1 (R-Sport) – Dallas Stars prospect Valeri Nichushkin says the NHL draft failed to relfect the class of the Russian players.
Nichushkin, a potential top-five pick, went No. 10 on Sunday, while other Russian forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Bogdan Yakimov had to wait until the third round.
Buchnevich was selected 75th by the New York Rangers, while Yakimov (83rd) went to the Edmonton Oilers along with Salavat Yulaev left wing Anton Slepyshev (88th).
“I thought that Buchnevich would be picked at the end of the first round and Yakimov in the second,” the 201-pound forward said.
“It’s obvious that Russian players are underestimated and I don’t understand how European scouts work. If the NHL teams knew how they played, they would have selected them much earlier.”
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov who claimed he was worthy of top-10 pick was selected 16th by the Buffalo Sabres.
Nichushkin, 18, put the discrepancy down to effective PR campaigns run by North American players such as No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, who was snapped up by the Colorado Avalanche.
“It was clear, because all these guys were heavily promoted,” Nichushkin said. “Meanwhile, I wasn’t invited anywhere. I don’t care, it’s even better for me that I wasn’t selected earlier, because I happened to get into Dallas.”
There were only eight Russian players selected at the draft in New Jersey, the country's second-lightest contingent after 2009, when a historic low of seven Russians were picked.