The Edmonton Oilers used their third-round selection, 85th overall, to select Russian goaltender Ilya Konovalov.
Konovalov, a six-foot, 194 lb. native of Yaroslavl, Russia, played last season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL — the team Craig MacTavish was recently named head coach of.
There, he posted impressive numbers as a 20-year-old with a .930 sv% and a 1.89 GAA in 45 games played.
Konovalov was ranked fourth amongst European goaltenders in the draft. This past season, he was named the KHL’s rookie of the year and was named goaltender of the month in January, along with two goaltender of the week honours.
With two years left on his KHL contract, he is a player who will get some great experience continuing to play in one of the top leagues in the world.
Goaltenders are often a bit of an unknown, but the numbers are very good for a very young goaltender.
Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects had this to say of Konovalov:
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.
On Twitter: @zjlaing
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