Dmitri Zlodeyev is the second half of the Vancouver Canucks’ potential late round steals at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

Many NHL scouts had their eyes on Dynamo Moskva’s Bogdan Trineyev during the draft. Trineyev is a 6’2″ winger/centre who ended up being drafted in the fourth round by the Washington Capitals. Those who were paying close attention to only Trineyev may not have noticed the two way game of his linemate Dmitri Zlodeyev.

Someone in the Canucks organization took notice of Zlodeyev and early returns are showing that they made a great pick with the 18-year-old centre.

Zlodeyev is a versatile centre who can contribute on both special teams units and is a tremendous play driver at 5-on-5. He shows a high level of effort at being defensively responsible and scores goals from anywhere on the ice.

The first full game I watched of Zlodeyev featured a back check that gave me real Jeff Tambellini vibes.

Since being drafted, Zlodeyev has been able to score some pretty goals at the VHL level, and with his game improving, he could find himself in the KHL late this season if not next year.

He is currently playing a majority of his games in the MHL and has 10 points (4g-6a) in 12 MHL games. The impressive thing is that he has been able to bring his scoring touch to the VHL and has four goals in eight games at the Russian second tier league.

Zlodeyev is fresh off of winning the Karjala Cup as he played for Russia’s U20 team that was captained by Vasili Podkolzin. Zlodeyev played in three games during the tournament. He was the thirteenth forward in the first two games and then found himself as the fourth line centre in the final game of the tournament.

The Karjala Cup was being used as a World Junior Championship primer for Russia as they sent their U20 team to compete against these men’s teams. Zlodeyev is a long shot to make the Russian U20 team for the WJC but he should be a shoe in for the next year’s tournament as he turns 19 this coming February.

It’s still possible that he makes the cut to be an extra forward for Russia and his ability to play centre or winger and be effective on both special teams units does give him a path to making the team. His linemate Bogdan Trineyev was not invited to play with Russia’s U20 team at the Karjala Cup.

Trineyev got an opportunity to play with his KHL team while Zlodeyev was preparing for the Karjala Cup so with that logic it leads me to believe that we could see Zlodeyev get some KHL action as an 18-year-old at some point this season. That would be huge for him as getting a taste of the second best league in the world would be great for his development towards North America.

Zlodeyev is first and foremost a defensive centre but there’s something about how he attacks the net in the offensive zone that gets me excited. He is constantly moving his feet in the offensive zone to find the spot on the ice where he will have the most open net if a pass is given to him. He has excellent hand eye coordination and can be used in multiple positions on the power play.

The hands on this kid are silky to go with his quick stride. He is able to pull off dekes at full speed and loves to drive to the net.

His playmaking ability is high end as well. Though he hasn’t registered an assist in the VHL this season, he has been brilliant when it comes to passing in the MHL with the extra space he is given.

The Canucks got themselves a fun prospect to follow for the next few years.

The question will be if he able to come over to North America and more specifically, when will he be able to?

Zlodeyev feels like the type of player that the Utica Comets could really use. A natural centre who plays a strong two way game and can contribute on both special teams units, he’s a dream addition to an AHL lineup.

He’s a few years away from coming over to North America so for now we will have to follow his MHL and VHL action while waiting for him to break into the KHL. If he makes Russia’s WJC team this Winter, he will be another fun prospect for Canucks fans to follow at this year’s tournament. As I mentioned earlier, he is a long shot to make this year’s team but he should be a lock for the 2022 team.

I’m a fan of the way he plays the game and am excited to see him try and crack our top 10 next season on the CanucksArmy rankings.