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Grading Alexander Gordin’s season: The Russian forward was impressive in the MHL, but can he take the next step?

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If Gordin can up his skating skills to match his wristshot, he’ll be in good shape.

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When Alexander Gordin was chosen by the Montreal Canadiens in the sixth round, 171st overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft they continued their strategy to draft out of Russia. In 2018 they hit a home run when they selected Alexander Romanov in the second round, and in 2019 they selected another Russian late in the draft Arsen Khisamutdinov.

Gordin was drafted out of the SKA Saint Petersburg system, a club with a pedigree and a track record of developing young talent. They also had Daniel Bochner as a skills coach. At the start of February Bochner has became an assistant coach in the club, something that should translate well in regards to the development of Gordin.

However, Gordin was shifted up and down the system in the early days of the season when SKA struggled with a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad and the Russian season kept going. This lead to Gordin getting nine games in VHL, and one game in KHL. All other times the forward was stuck in the MHL, but one needs to understand that the MHL is a proper development league and SKA seems to have a plan in regards to Gordin, something Miss Gillian Kemmerer mentioned in the podcast attached below.

Gordin finished 32nd in scoring in the MHL this season with 42 points (23G, 19A) and played 16:26 per game. This made him SKA-1946’s third-best scorer behind Matvei Michkov, a 16-year-old wonder, and Maxim Krovyakov who is eligible for the 2021 NHL draft. Gordin mainly stood out on the power play, where he was usually the trigger man.

Strength

Gordin is a big, 6’1’’ forward with a wicked wrist shot that seems to be effortless in its release and on top of that the shot is heavy, deceptive, and, most of all, accurate. Gordin uses his skills to look for a pass and then release the puck with devastating effect and precision. He can place the shot close to the posts causing even more problems for the goalkeeper. It is his shot that will carry him in his hockey career.

In the playoffs, with injuries hampering SKA, Gordin also showed some other skills as he was trusted in a bigger role. The same wrists that can unleash brimstone and fire upon an unexpecting goalie, can deliver accurate and skilled passes too. His vision is there, and it bodes well for the Russian.

Weakness

Gordin’s skating technique isn’t strong. The strides are short and he sometimes seems to almost falls over in the acceleration phase. He constantly loses skating races in the ice and this is something that he will have to address in regards to having a successful hockey career.

One thing that has me confused is that fact that Gordin almost seems to lose power and goes gliding far too early in some situations on the ice. This could point to the fact that he needs to work on his overall conditioning, however it might also be other circumstances that it could stem from this year and I will keep an eye on it next season. It might be different circumstances for this during a year like we have all had, but I think it needs to be pointed out. However, it’s probably nothing that SKA won’t be able to sort out with the tough summer regime.

Grade: B-

He was third in scoring for SKA-1946 so that certainly raises the grade. I am still on the fence in regards to his skating and he will need to fix that next year in order to keep or raise the grade.

The fact that he led his team in points in the playoffs also raises the grade from a C+. Gordin’s six points (3G, 3A) in five games was impressive. While the team suffered injuries the reason they didn’t go further won’t be resting on Gordin’s shoulders. He stepped up and had a better point-per-game average than in the regular season.

Gordin should work on his skating this summer in hopes of making a transition to the VHL team and hopefully get a few games in the KHL next season. Those should be the expectations going forward.


Listen to Miss Gillian Kemmerer and myself discuss the Russian development system and structure below: