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Photo Credit: Lokomitiv Yaroslavl

Edmonton Oilers prospect Ilya Konovalov off to hot start in KHL

Edmonton Oilers goalie prospect Ilya Konovalov is off to a hot start in the KHL this season.

The Russian netminder is playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl this season and has jumped out to a 3-1-0 start with a wildly impressive .950 save percentage and a 1.57 GAA.

Drafted in the third round of the 2019 NHL draft, Konovalov is now in his third year as the starting goalie for Lokomotiv and his numbers are nothing short of impressive.

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In 96 KHL games played, he’s posted a 47-35-7 record, a .923 save percentage and a 2.09 GAA along with 14 shutouts.

By all accounts, it appears the Oilers may have a legit goaltender who could compete for a spot in net sooner rather than later.

Here’s what The Athletic’s prospect guru Corey Pronman had to say about Konovalov in his organization prospect rankings from this August:

Konovalov’s numbers were down from two seasons ago when he was drafted, but when I watched him I still saw a lot of the things I liked in his draft season. His hockey sense is tremendous. He never looks rattled in the net, moving with the puck seamlessly and always seems square with the play. He’s so efficient in how he moves around the crease. Konovalov is quick — it’s not elite quickness for a 5-foot-11 goalie, but he’s quick and it never seems like he has to make a dive across the net. He will need to cut down on some of the long-range goals I saw go in on him, probably a byproduct of his size.

Konovalov’s biggest knock against him may be his size. At 5’11 and 196 lbs., he’s definitely on the smaller side when it comes to goaltenders. In the whole NHL, there are only six goalies who are 6’0 or shorter: Alex Stalock, Antti Raanta, Pavel Francouz, Jaroslav Halak, Anton Khudobin and Juuse Saros.

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Suffice to say with the numbers Konovalov has posted, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the NHL as the Oilers starting goalie at some point.

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On Twitter: @zjlaing