Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.
Gary “Suitcase” Smith would have been proud of Dmitri Zlodeyev’s traveling accomplishments this season.
Zlodeyev played for five teams in three different leagues last season, following a trade from the Dynamo Moscow organization to Spartak Moskva.
You could include a sixth separate team that Zlodeyev played for as well, since he was an alternate captain for Russia at the 2022 World Juniors back in December before the tournament was canceled.
He scored one goal for Russia in two games played.
Zlodeyev was the only Canucks prospect who was originally named to the 2022 World Juniors last December. And, in one of Russia’s two contests, Zlodeyev was named player of the game. He assuredly would have been there as well in August if it wasn’t for Russia’s banishment from the tournament.
In Russia, Zlodeyev wasn’t able to stick in the VHL (Russia’s equivalent to the AHL) or the KHL, but he absolutely dominated the MHL (Russia’s top junior league).
Zlodeyev had a respectable four goals and seven points in 10 games for Dynamo Moscow’s junior team prior to a midseason trade. After joining Spartak Moskva’s junior squad, Zlodeyev went off.
The 20-year-old posted 17 goals and 34 points in just 18 games with Spartak Moskva in the MHL. He finished fourth on his team in scoring, but the three guys ahead of him all played at least 55 games.
He wasn’t as effective in the MHL playoffs, where his squad was eliminated in three games. However, he was involved in this playoff brawl...
Absolute madness last Thursday in a MHL (Russian junior league) playoff game.#Canucks prospect Dmitri Zlodeyev lined up at right wing (red jersey) and was jumped during a line brawl.— Faber (@ChrisFaber39) March 8, 2022
Zlodeyev can be spotted throwing some big uppercuts at 0:44 on the right side of your screen. pic.twitter.com/DyNTL87OU9
So much for this scouting report that said he can’t always play against physically strong opponents...
What’s Next for Zlodeyev?
Dominating Russia’s junior circuit is one thing, but Zlodeyev needs to start producing in leagues against men if he wants to have a future in the NHL.
Last season in the VHL, Zlodeyev posted one goal and four points in 16 games, while playing for two different teams.
That was a downgrade compared to his 2020-21 VHL production, where he had seven goals in 19 games.
Of course, goals and assists aren’t the whole story, and constantly shuffling in between teams isn’t often a recipe for developmental success.
Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, Zlodeyev is slated to begin the season with Spartak Moskva in the KHL. Based on preseason action, he’s already off to a good start.
His season would be deemed a success if he could stick around in the KHL full-time, gaining the trust of head coach and former Edmonton Oilers defenceman Boris Mironov.
Chipping in a few goals, like the ones he recently scored above, would help his case as well.