Next up in our 2023 annual prospect review and forecast series is Ivan Miroshnichenko, forward for Avangard Omsk of the KHL/VHL . (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page or right here.)
Miroshnichenko, 19, was selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round (#20 overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’1”, 195lb right-hander hails from Primorsky Krai, Russia, where he developed his game and ultimately garnered the attention of KHL and NHL scouts. He remains under contract with Avangard for another season, and as a result, remains unsigned by the Capitals.
Miroshnichenko began his hockey career playing for Vityaz Podolsk until the age of 18 when he joined the Avangard system. In 2021 he played for Omskie Yastreby in the MHL and joined the VHL team for the 2021-22 season. Miroshnichenko was also captain for Team Russia when they won gold in the 2021 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.
2022 was a trying year for Miroshnichenko, as he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February of that year. After undergoing successful treatment for the disease, which included specialized treatments in Germany, he was cleared by doctors to return to skating and workouts in June of 2022.
Capitals assistant general manager Ross Mahoney told NHL.com that Washington’s medical staff examined Miroshnichenko’s health records, and that he felt good about the player’s status following a video conference with him in May.
“I was in Germany in April at the Under-18 World Championship and met Ivan and his father,” Mahoney said. “I think he was already in his second round of chemotherapy, and he had lost a lot of weight, lost his hair, and he was wearing a cap. He looked really thin and I thought, ‘What a tough situation.’ Then we did a Zoom call with him in May when he was finishing up his treatments, and he looked a lot better.”
Miroshnichenko was subsequently cleared for skating and workouts in June but was not yet cleared to return to hockey in the KHL.
“He’s progressing, he’s skating, he’s working out. He’s not with his KHL team right now,” said Mahoney during Capitals media day back on September of 2022. “He has to kinda wait, almost like a medical clearance from the League. He’s been cleared by doctors, to go out and to workout and to do those sort of things. It’s more of a league thing.”
Mahoney also praised Miroshnichenko’s maturity and mental composure throughout the trying time he has gone through since his diagnosis.
“He was always a captain of his under-17, under-18 team, and even the tournament last November with the under-20 he was the assistant captain, so it is probably an indicator of his character…he went through an awful lot but I think it speaks volumes of his character and the type of person he is,” said Mahoney.
Miroshnichenko was finally cleared to return to the league and work-outs with Avangard Omsk’s VHL (Junior) on October 21. He was subsequently cleared to return to games on November 6, 2022.
Miroshnichenko began his return playing in six games with the Avangard’s MHL team (i.e. Russian Junior League). In those six games, he tallied six goals and recorded two assists.
Miroshnichenko then made his first appearance with the VHL team on November 21 in a game against Metallurg Novokuznetsk (More here). It was his first game with the VHL team since being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma back in February. He recorded two primary assists in the game.
Miroshnichenko joined the KHL team on December 3 and made his KHL debut on December 4. He scored his first career goal in the KHL on December 26 (More here). He played 23 games at the KHL level during the 2022-23 Season, notching three goals before returning to the VHL and MHL squads to finish out the season. Miroshnichenko finished the 2022-23 season with 16 postseason games, totaling 55 games since his return.
2022-2023 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Ivan Miroshnichenko during the 2022-2023 season. Also included are his monthly scores (0-5, with 2.5 being average). You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Miroshnichenko continued personal workouts over the summer and was listed on the Omsk Wings (VHL) opening night roster.
Miroshnichenko has yet to appear in a game for either Avangard Omsk or any of their affiliates. However, he returned to practice for the first time on October 21. The team posted a video of him participating in the VHL (junior) team’s workout, with the message “Hi all, happy to be back!” Miroshnichenko had been medically cleared for personal workouts, but, until then, had yet to be cleared to practice or play for his Russian team, AvangardOmsk.
Monthly Score: Incomplete
Miroshnichenko conducted an interview with MatchTV in the middle of the month. He commented on the draft and being drafted by the Capitals.
“During the draft, there was a moment when I thought that I would get selected earlier. I already gave the phone to a neighbor. I was ready to get out of my chair and go on stage … As a result, I was chosen later. And I am very pleased that Washington believed in me. I will prove that the club did not make a mistake with the choice.” More here.
Miroshnichenko was finally cleared for game action on November 6 and played with Omskie Yastreb, the MHL (Russian Junior Hockey) affiliate of Omsk Avangard, that same day against Momonte Ugry.
While that particular game was unremarkable, after that, Miroshnichenko shook the rust off pretty quickly. The next day, he scored a goal and assist and potted the shootout winner.
👋 Ivan Miroshnichenko ✌️ pic.twitter.com/Jggj0s0Z31
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 3, 2022
Miroshnichenko would score at least one goal in every game for Omskie Yastreb, with the goal-scoring streak lasting seven games. On November 16, he scored two goals against Irbis.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) November 16, 2022
His MHL statistics for this year (and for November) are: eight games played, eight goals, and three assists for 11 points. He even has shown a physical game during this stretch to include some hits and one fight.
His action was not just limited to the MHL. He also appeared in two games with Omsk Kryliya, the VHL affiliate of Omsk Avangard. He did not score in either of those games but had at least one assist in each game.
Overall, he has a seven game goal scoring streak in the MHL and a two game point streak in the VHL.
Preliminary reports out of Russian on Thursday mentioned that Miroshnichenko “could” make his KHL debut on Sunday, but the coach said it’s a possibility he is called up, and that there were other factors at play.
Monthly Score: 4.0
Miroshnichenko had a very productive month of hockey after returning from his treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He completed treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June and returned to workouts with the MHL club on October 21.
Miroshnichenko was cleared to return to game action on November 8, which began the following day with games for Avangard’s Junior team.
Miroshnichenko was elevated to the KHL squad on December 2nd and participated in his first practice with the team on December 3.
Ivan Miroshnichenko (yellow sweater) participating in his first skate with Advangard’s KHL club. He is expected to make his first ever start in Russia’s top league this weekend. #ALLCAPS [IG: @avangsrd_inside] pic.twitter.com/8ZnvrSaVrM
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 3, 2022
He made his first KHL start on December 4, skating as a 13th forward and saw minor time on ice (4:28) as the game was more or less for getting his feet wet. He did record two hits in that small amount of ice time he did get.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) December 4, 2022
Miroshnichenko was moved from 13th forward to the 4th line for Avangard’s game against Salavat Ufa, his second game in KHL. He logged 9:13 TOI, 2 SOG and 3 hits for the game.
He was then elevated to the third line for his third game on December 8 against Ak Bars. He recorded two shots and two hits in 12:04 of ice time. Miroshnichenko returned to the VHL for a game on December 10 while the KHL All-Star Weekend took place.
He then returned to the KHL team on December 19 for his 4th KHL game. He recorded 3 shots and 3 hits in just 6:18 of ice time. Miroshnichenko skated in his 5th KHL game on December. He recorded one shot in 5:56 of ice time.
Miroshnichenko scored his first career goal in the KHL on December 26. The goal came at 16:24 of the first period in Avangard’s tilt with Barys Astana.
Welcome to the big stage, kid!
18-year-old Ivan Miroshnichenko scores first KHL career goal! pic.twitter.com/v4NZI7g7Qa
— KHL (@khl_eng) December 26, 2022
Miroshnichenko finished the game with a goal on two shots. He had one hit in 8:19 of ice time.
“I dedicate this goal to my family and loved ones, after all, a difficult path has passed. We were all together, no one left me,” Miroshnichenko told the media following the game.
“I think we can already say that I have adapted to the KHL. Probably, I have earned the coaches trust, so I can play more and more with each match.”
Miroshnichenko has played in nine games in the KHL and averaged seven minutes of ice time. He has primarily started at left wing on the 4th line, but has played one game at left wing on the third line.
The team is taking it slow with regards to ramping up his ice time, which is the right move.
Monthly Score: 4.0
On January 8 Miroshnichenko recorded an assist on a goal by Korbin Knight. The goal came 17 seconds into the second period and put Avangard Omsk up 1-0 in a game they ultimately won 2-1. Miroshnichenko was on the first line this game as a replacement for Reed Boucher who was ill.
Korbin Knight had great praise for Miroshnichenko’s assist, “It was a combat match. We know that Avtomobilist is in a difficult situation now, and because of this, perhaps, motivation is higher. We knew they were going to fight. But the main thing is that each of us contributed to the common cause and we achieved success. As for the game in the line with Ivan Miroshnichenko, everything was great. He is a young player and everything went great.
“I won’t say that I expected such an assist from Ivan in the episode with my goal. But he’s a talented guy, a very good player, so he can give something so beautiful. We need to give him credit.”
However, since then his ice time declined to just six minutes in the game on January 11 as he was on the fourth line. From January 16-18, he dressed as the “extra” forward and got just .21 seconds of ice time on January 16.
He scored a goal on January 27 in a game where Omsk Avangard played Moscow Dynamo. He made a nice defensive play in the zone and got the redirect for his second career goal in the NHL.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) January 27, 2023
For the month of January, Miroshnichenko played in 10 games, scoring one goal and recording one assist. For the season so far, Miroshnichenko has played in 17 games and has recorded two goals and recorded one assist.
Monthly Score: 3.0
One of Miroshnichenko’s highlights for the month of February was scoring his third goal in the KHL on his nineteeth birthday on February 4. The goal came midway through the second period of Avangard’s tilt with Amur Khabarovsk. Miroshnichenko hammered home a one-timer from the right circle for the score, giving Avangard a 1-0 lead. [MORE HERE]
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 4, 2023
Miroshnichenko returned to the MHL (Russian’s Junior hockey league) prior to the game on February 13 so that he could get more playing time. On February 14, he scored a power play goal at eight minutes into the second period in a game they ultimately won, 4-2 against Sputnik Almetievsk..
Ivan Miroshnichenko, getting some playing time with Avangard’s junior team this week, hammers home a power play tally in the 2nd period of today’s tilt against Sputnik Almetievsk. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/MrDx5RldCG
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 14, 2023
On February 17, he had a primary assist on the team’s first goal.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 17, 2023
On February 18, Miroshnichenko scored on a power play two minutes into the third period, putting the Hawks ahead by a 2-1 score, a lead the team could not hold onto as they ultimately lost 3-2 in Overtime.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) February 18, 2023
Miroshnichenko returned to Omsk Avangard (KHL) in time for their game of February 24 but did not get into the game. His first game since the return was on February 26 where he had 14:50 of ice time but got no points.
Avangard ended up third in their division for the 2022-23 season and will play Sibir in the first round of the KHL playoffs. The MHL regular season ends on March 2.
For February, Miroshnichenko played in five games in the KHL and scored one goal. His overall KHL statistics are that he played 23 games, scored three goals, and recorded one assist. His MHL statistics for February are four games played, two goals, and one assist. His season totals in the MHL are 12 games played, 10 goals scored, and four assists.
Monthly Score: 3.5
Miroshnichenko recorded an assist on March 11 in Game One of the Omskie’s first round series against Tolpar (MHL) on March 23 in a game they won 5-1.
He recorded two assists on March 13 in Game Two and won 5-3. He had a goal and an assist on March 23 where they lost 5-4.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) March 26, 2023
Miroshnichenko had a goal and two assists in their game of March 25 where they won 5-4.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) March 26, 2023
Miroshnichenko has played in the KHL, the VHL, and the MHL. His overall KHL statistics are that he played 23 games, scored three goals, and recorded one assists. His VHL statistics for February are four games played, two goals, and one assist.
His regular season totals in the MHL are 12 games played, 10 goals scored, and four assists. For the playoffs this season with the MHL, he has 2 goals and 5 assists in 7 games. His team,
Omsk Yastreby (Hawks) have advanced to the third round of the playoffs by winning their Best of 5 series with Tolpar and will begin their series with SKA-1463 on April 3.
Monthly Score: 3.0
During the month of April, Miroshnichenko played in two playoff series, the MHL semi-finals where Omskie Yastreby played SKA-1946, winning three games in the best of five series, and advanced to the Kharlamov Cup Finals where they played Chaika (Seagulls). They lost the best-of-five series, losing the last game 3-2 in Overtime. For April, Miroshnichenko played in nine playoff games but scored no goals and did not record any assists either.
His final playoff statistics were 16 games played where he scored two goals and recorded five assists for seven goals overall. His final regular season statistics in the MHL were 12 games played with ten goals and four assists.
Miroshnichenko also played in the KHL and the VHL. His overall KHL statistics are that he played 23 games, scored three goals, and recorded one assist. His VHL statistics for February are four games played, two goals, and one assist.
Monthly Score: 3.0
MONTHLY SCORE SUMMARY
The Avangard Hockey Club and Miroshnichenko agreed to a mutual contract termination on May 1, 2023, according to the club’s official website. The move paves the way for Miroshnichenko to begin his hockey career in North America.
The Washington Capitals announced later that day that they have signed Miroshnichenko to a three-year entry-level contract. Miroshnichenko will earn $855,000 in the NHL and $82,500 in the AHL
Miroshnichenko’s return to hockey following Hodgkin’s lymphoma made the 2022-23 season a success. The fact he saw more than 20 games at the KHL level was icing on the cake, as he held his own against Russian men.
Miroshnichenko played in 69 games this past season, by far the most in his hockey career. His offensive production began to slow quite a bit in the latter half of the season and in the playoffs, typical for a player of his young age and experience. He will look to expand on his conditioning and ability to thrive for the entire 2023-24 season.
By Jon Sorensen
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