Edmonton Oilers Prospect Countdown #13: Nikita Yevseyev

Bruce Curlock
9 months ago
It’s back-to-back Russian prospects with Nikita Yevseyev coming in at #13.
Position: Defense
Shoots: Left
Nationality: Russia
Date of Birth: October 12, 2001
Drafted: 6th Round Pick, 2022 
Height: 6’1″ / 185 cm
Weight: 187lbs / 85 kg
Ranking last year: Not ranked
As those who follow me know, I think Nikita Yevseyev is the second most NHL-ready Oilers defence prospect in the system. I also believe that if Nikita Yevseyev was playing in North America, he would be much further up the rankings list.
Now looking at his statistics, most would question my intelligence for making this assertion. As a general rule, you should question my intelligence, however, on this one topic I think I’m right. As with most prospects, context matters a great deal in reviewing Nikita Yevseyev.
For instance, Nikita Yevseyev played the entire year in the KHL as an 18-year-old. The KHL! I go back and forth as to whether it is the second or third-best league in the world, but nevertheless, it is a tremendous league. The fact that Yevseyev played at all is a testament.
Yevseyev played in 48 games which was cut short by injury only. There was only one other 18-year-old to even play 40 games. The rest played much less than that.  In terms of time on ice, no one was close. More impressive was the fact that Yevseyev played every game in the KHL playoffs and averaged more than eight minutes a night. The impressive part was his team made it all the way to the Gagarin Cup finals losing in game seven. Yevseyev played 22 games in the toughest part of the season and for a team that went as far as it could without winning. That’s a great development path.
In terms of his points, they may seem low, but Yevseyev’s point totals were beaten by only one player in his age group, Matvei Mitchkov. In terms of defencemen, it’s not until the age of 20 that Yevseyev’s point totals are beaten. Nikita Yevseyev’s points may seem underwhelming, but when you apply context, the numbers are impressive. If that doesn’t do it for you, here is some video.

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Yevseyev certainly has an idea of what to do in the offensive zone. If he sees increased playing time, there is little question that his totals are going to rise in an impressive manner.
While Yevseyev’s offence is promising, the part of his game that I believe makes him a very exciting prospect is his skating. Look at these two clips. He’s a strong, fluid skater with an excellent structure to his stride. In addition, his balance is very strong and he is a better-than-average lateral skater.

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The part that gets really exciting here is that he does this all in a 6’1″, 187-pound frame. This is not a diminutive player who will struggle playing on the smaller NHL ice surface. Nor will playing “big boy” playoff hockey limit his impact at all.
As I have said on Twitter many a time, Nikita Yevseyev would be an even more exciting prospect and certainly one who would be ranked much higher, but for one item, he’s a Russian under contract in the KHL. His team contract goes through the 2024-25 season, so Oilers fans will have to wait patiently and hope if Yevseyev continues to develop at his current pace that the organization’s success rate with Russian prospects improves.

Previously in the countdown

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