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All About Ilya Konovalov

With their third pick at the 2019 NHL Draft, the Oilers stepped up and grabbed 20-year-old goaltender, Ilya Konovalov, from Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. In 2018-19, Konovalov won the Rookie of the Year award for this past season, making him the first goaltender to do so since Andrei Vasilevskiy. While some folks were upset that the Oilers would draft another goalie with their third-round pick, Konovalov is a couple of years along in his development and already playing at a high level in the KHL.

BIO:

Position: Goaltender– Catches: Left
Born: July 13th, 1998 — City: Yaroslavl, Russia
Height: 6 feet 0 inches — Weight: 194 lbs [88 kg]
Drafted: 85th overall
Major Junior: Lokomotiv Yaroslavl — League: MHL

SCOUTING REPORTS

Konovalov had a great season even as a fourth-year-eligible prospect. He was an above-average starting goalie in the KHL and is a player who will be looked to for the Russian national team in the future. He’s six-foot with good but not great athleticism, so I was initially quite skeptical. Konovalov’s hockey sense is outstanding, though, and won me over. His eyes seem magnetically attracted to the puck. He’s never fooled by reverse passes from behind the net, centering plays and stays in position even when the puck is bouncing around the crease. He has that very low panic threshold you want in a goalie. He may never make the spectacular diving save, but he often never needs to. His movements are quick and smooth enough that he squares up most pucks. -Corey Pronman, The Athletic

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Konovalov has been passed over in the NHL Draft three times already but this season, as a 20-year-old, he’s been one of the best goalies in the KHL, and he’s still eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft for the final time before becoming a free agent. He doesn’t have the type of size teams are usually looking for in goalies but he’s quick and agile, isn’t afraid to leave the blue paint to challenge attackers, and he has a good glove as well. His situation is a bit similar to Veini Vehviläinen’s, another average-sized goalie who was also passed over thrice but finally got drafted after proving himself at the pro level. Konovalov will likely get drafted late in the draft, the same way Vehviläinen did, but if he has another strong season in the KHL, his stock will be rising very quickly. Don’t sleep on this guy. -Jokke Nevalainen, Dobber Prospects

With Konovalov, it is all about being a hard worker. While not being overly gifted, he had been showing progress year after year and was able to refine his technique to the level of setting some records in the KHL. It’s not easy to tell if there’s NHL starter potential here, as goalies are hard to predict, but with that kind of work and progress, I won’t be surprised if it is there. -Russian Prospect

PRE-DRAFT RANKINGS

  • Ranked #4 by CENTRAL SCOUTING (European Goalie Rankings)
  • Ranked #123 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY

VIDEO AND HIGHLIGHTS

Post Draft Interview:

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Highlight pack from the 2018-19 season:

Single shot video of Konovalov’s positioning, something he’s been said to be working on every summer.

SEASON STATS

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP GAA SVS% PGP GAA SVS%
2013-14 Lokomotiv-2004 Yaroslavl U16 Russia U16 11 2.40
2014-15 Lokomotiv-2004 Yaroslavl U17 Russia U17 32 2.04
Loko Yaroslavl MHL 0
Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl MHL B 11 1.52 .933
2015-16 Loko Yaroslavl MHL 11 1.59 .927 0
Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl MHL B 16 1.55 .936
2016-17 Loko Yaroslavl MHL 32 1.90 .920 4 1.67 .931
Loko-Yunior Yaroslavl NMHL 1 2.05 .933
2017-18 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL 7 1.56 .933
HK Ryazan VHL 12 2.11 .919
Loko Yaroslavl MHL 11 1.79 .922 16 1.23 .945
Russia U20 (all) International-Jr 2
2018-19 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL 45 1.89 .930 8 2.42 .905

TOURNAMENT STATS

SEASON TEAM LEAGUE GP GAA SVS%
2014-15 Lokomotiv-2004 Yaroslavl U17 Russia U17 Finals 6 1.37
2015-16 Loko Yaroslavl MHL Supercup 1 1.18 .941
2016-17 Loko Yaroslavl JCWC 2 0.99 .941
2018-19 Loko Yaroslavl JCWC 4 1.75 .916
Russia EHT 2 1.44 .917

  • Viperx

    Someone in the organization must have scouted the hell out of him to use a 3rd round pick on a 4th year draft eligible goalie from Russia! I’d be interested to learn more about this story.

  • CMG30

    A good idea to use a late round pick on a goalie. This fellow seems as promising as any. Besides, You need a few in the system because they are so hard to predict. May as well just throw a dart at the list….

  • Spaceman Spiff

    And I’m sure I don’t have to remind any of you that the Konovalov was the name of the Soviet submarine that was sent out to sink the Red October in the classic novel/movie, The Hunt for Red October.

    • Señor Frijoles

      That’s where you’d be wrong – you absolutely did need to remind me of that little factoid, and I love it. The Oilers are in dire need of someone to come up through their ranks and be a starting-quality goalie. I agree with CMG30 – it’s worth a shot, especially considering this guy has looked good in the KHL. If he pans out, it’ll be amazing – the more goalie prospects you have, you just keep upping the odds that one of them will step up and be something.

  • OilCan2

    I like the pick. He was AMAZING in the KHL at 20. Let him get an English tutor and work big minutes this season. It allows our Condors another year of lotsa net time. Trust the plan.

  • BR

    Goalies are weird – too hard to really pick who’s going to be good. He seems as good a pick as any, has a good back story and strong numbers in a great league against excellent shooters. What will be interesting is where he plays the next few years. Do the Oilers want to bring him over after another season or two and give him a starter role in the AHL or ECHL?