Mikhail Sergachyov built a strong case as the draft’s best defenceman in his first year with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. The Russian defender, who was selected sixth overall in the CHL Import Draft last summer, checks in as the seventh-ranked prospect in our consensus rankings.
The Spitfires played Sergachyov, an OHL rookie, primarily on their top pairing and used him in both phases of special teams. Sergachyov shined in those minutes, amassing the highest points, primary points and goals among first-time draft eligible defenceman in the OHL — well ahead of Olli Juolevi and Jakob Chychrun. Those accolades pushed Sergachyov up draft boards and built a strong case for his Max Kaminsky Trophy award, given to the CHL’s top defenceman.
There’s a lot to like about Sergachyov and very few boxes unchecked on the long list of qualities one hopes for in a top pairing defender. Sergachyov can skate, hit, pass and is an ace in transition. He’s also a right-side defender, in spite of his left-handedness. Let’s take a look at this late-risers long-term NHL prospects, on the other side of the jump.
- Age: 17, 1998-06-25
- Birthplace: Nizhnekamsk, Russia
- Frame: 6’2″, 220 lbs.
- Position: D
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Windsor Spitfires
- Accomplishments/Awards: 14-15 EYOF Gold Medal, Most Assists, Most Assists by Defenceman, Most Points by Defenceman, U17 WHC Gold Medal 15-16 CHL Top Prospects Game, OHL First All-Rookie Team, First All-Star Team, Most Goals by Defenceman, Most Outstanding Defenceman
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Sergachyov had a very strong rookie season in the OHL, displaying two-way abilities and putting up big counting numbers from the blue line. He was the youngest player ever to win the OHL Defenseman of the Year award. Sergachyov is a fantastic skater for a big man, showing a technically sound stride and an above-average first step. He moves the puck well, is a creative power-play quarterback showing good patience and vision, and has a rocket for a shot. Sergachyov wins battles, shuts down lanes due to his speed, frame and toughness, and has an edge to his game as well. His defensive positioning can use some tweaking, but he shows a decent amount of awareness in that area, even if I wouldn’t qualify his hockey IQ as high-end. He’s a player with a lot of upside.
Windsor Spitfires defenceman Mikhail Sergachyov (No. 10) can do it all. He’s an excellent skater with the quickness to jump into the attack and the requisite footwork to operate in tight areas and beat pressure. He has a very good shot and the smarts to get into offensive spots where he can make a contribution. He also can deliver body checks that make life unpleasant for opponents.
Sergachev is a big, strong, elite-level skater with great productivity and a cannon shot from the point
Leads OHL defensemen in goals with 14 in 59 games through March 2nd…His 47 points ranks third among both defensemen and rookies…Recorded two points or more in 13 of his first 59 contests, including a pair of four-point games…Registered 29 points in his 29 games between December 11th and February 28th…Played for Team Orr in the 2016 CHL Top Prospects Game…2014-15: Appeared in 25 games for Irbis Kazan in the MHL, scoring a pair of goals and adding six assists…Played for Team Russia at the World U17 Hockey Challenge, where he picked up a goal in six games…Represented Russia in five games at the 2015 Under-18 World Championship.
Sergachev takes full advantage of his big body and does not hesitate to throw his weight around to clear the crease or turn over the puck. He moves very efficiently and has quick feet for a bigger player. His offensive game has developed significantly with his offensive contributions coming more on the man advantage in my viewings. He has all the tools to become a minute munching NHL top pairing defenseman.
There isn’t a better defenceman in this year’s draft than Sergachyov. Not in my estimation. I had him ranked fifth when compiling our rankings for a consensus list and selected him fifth overall in a mock draft at www.TheBloggersTribune.com.
Sergachyov is an excellent skater that can carry the puck through traffic and use his frame to protect the puck in close quarters. His head’s always up and looking for an outlet, though he’s just as content to carry the puck himself. He reminds me most of Alexander Edler, though one scout I spoke to felt Mattias Ohlund was a better match.
When viewed through the lens of pGPS, Sergachyov checks out as having a 72.7% chance of making it to the NHL based on players matching his statistical and stature based profile. That’s the third-highest mark among draft eligible defenders.
Jeremy Crowe of BuckeyeStateHockey was kind enough to provide some of the underlying data he manually tracked for Sergachyov. It’s tough to get a clear picture of where he stands as a possession player, but overall there’s reason for encouragement.
Sergachyov’s Corsi for in these games hovers at about 46%. The qualifier for those numbers, though, is that for half the games tracked he played primarily alongside Logan Stanley. In the three games alongside Stanley, Sergachyov was in the red by Corsi For. In the three games away from Stanley, he was in the black. It’s fair to wonder then how much Sergachyov was weighed down by playing alongside Stanley.
This isn’t to say Sergachyov is perfect, though. Not by any stretch. He can be reckless with the puck on occasion and could stand to work on his reads from the defensive zone. Luckily for Sergachyov and whichever team drafts him, these are fixable flaws.
Sergachyov is still an attractive defenceman, that could find himself taken anywhere in the 7-20 range of the draft. In all likelihood, his draft position will undersell his upside and the team that’s lucky enough to make the investment will reap huge rewards.