The Canucks drafted Dmitri Zlodeyev in the sixth round of the 2020 Draft and he is impressing so far.

The MHL is a long way from the NHL but Zlodeyev is taking steps towards getting to the best league in the world. He was called up from the MHL to the VHL today to play on a third line with Dynamo Krasnogorsk.

He played alongside two other 18-year-olds. One of them is Bogdan Trineyev, a 2020 fourth round draft pick of the Washington Capitals, and the other winger is MHL teammate Ivan Didkovsky.

Though Trineyev was the higher rated 2020 draft prospect by many scouts, Zlodeyev is the one impressing scouts around the world.

Zlodeyev scored a goal in the second period of today’s game. He worked hard to get the puck along the boards and then used his good hands to work the puck around a defender and then finished the play off by sliding the puck past the goaltender.

Here are a couple different clips of the goal.

The kid has been great in the VHL this season, scoring a goal in each of his first three VHL games before being held off the scoresheet for the next three VHL appearances.

With today’s goal, Zlodeyev now has four goals in seven VHL games and is averaging about 13 and a half minutes of ice time in those games.

He has not been playing on the power play or killing penalties for Dynamo at the VHL level. He’s the first centre out there on the penalty kill and power play when he plays in the MHL (Russian Junior League).

Some skaters were laying off the gas on their backchecks but Zlodeyev gives 100% on every shift and is rarely out of position defensively. The effort that he gives to get involved defensively is something that coaches and management will love. His stance on faceoffs is very low to the ice and even at the VHL level against men he uses his leverage to out muscle the opposition on puck battles in the corners.

I was impressed with Zlodeyev’s play in the MHL but wasn’t sure about the competition that he was playing against. Seeing him compete against men in the VHL was reassuring that he is a prospect that we should keep an eye on.

If he makes the jump to the KHL next season or potentially later this year, it will be a fun story to follow and though he is a long way away from the NHL, the Canucks were very happy that they were able to draft him with their sixth round pick in the 2020 draft, and now we know why.