A couple of days ago, GM Mike Gillis went on The Pipeline Show and indicated that the Canucks were close to signing one its three Russian prospects.
The Russian players that were mentioned (Sergei Shirokov, Ilya Kablukov and Kiril Koltsov)… The one that we have and I won’t mention his name – the number one prospect in that group – we’re very close to signing and bringing over.
Yesterday, a rumor surfaced that the Canucks had indeed signed Sergei Shirokov. The team hasn’t confirmed this yet so I suppose we’ll cross our fingers and wait until they do.
The Canucks drafted Shirokov in the 6th round in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft – this pick was the one that was packaged with Roberto Luongo and Lukas Krajicek (who’s since turned into Shane O’Brien) when they came over from Florida. If Shirokov does come over, I’m sure he’ll be given every opporturnity – along with Michael Grabner – to make the big club and be the first Canucks draft picks from the 2006 draft to suit up for them.
When the Canucks drafted Shirokov, they considered him a late round steal. From CDC:
Shirokov was a late-round steal. He possesses amazing vision, smarts, and playmaking ability, and can improve the play of everyone around him. He’s had great showings at international tournaments and is a leader on his Men’s team as one of the youngest on the roster. He is one of the most NHL-ready prospects in Russia, but is still a year away at least before transferring. He has the ability and skill-package to be a top-six forward, if he chooses to come over to North America.
Three years later, Hockey’s Future seems to agree.
Statistically, Shirokov just finished his best season. Playing in the KHL, he led his CSKA team in goals (17) and points (40) in 56 games; his 40 points were also good for 23rd overall in the league. (To add some context, Sergey Mozyakin led the league with 76 points in 56 GP; Jaromir Jagr had 53 points in 55 GP; Alexander Radulov had 48 points in 52 GP; and Alexei Yashin had 47 points in 56 GP.) For what it’s worth, russianprospects.com currently considers Shirokov as one of the best Russian prospects around.
That Luongo deal just keeps getting better, eh?