**Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Famer, Steve Carp’s returns to SinBin.vegas for the 2021 season. His weekly column publishes every Sunday during the Golden Knights season and is brought to you by the Jimmerson Law Firm.**
I don’t think I was in the minority when I say this, but I was excited about watching Kirill Kaprizov play in person this week.
The Minnesota Wild rookie forward from Russia is impressive. He gets the puck on his stick and he quickly becomes the center of everyone’s attention. He’s gifted, hard-working, and exciting.
Watching Kaprizov got me thinking about another Russian forward. No, not Pavel Dorofeyev, though he appears to be off to a good start with the Silver Knights.
Remember Ivan Morozov? He was the Golden Knights’ first player taken in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, going in the second round at No. 61 overall. He has remained in Russia and is currently playing with SKA St. Petersburg in the Kontinental Hockey League.
How’s he doing? Quite well, actually. In 55 regular-season games, Morozov scored 13 goals and had 31 points and was a +15 for his team, which won its division and was second overall in the KHL in points. He’s still maturing, both physically as well as emotionally. He’s 6-foot-1 and weighs 178 pounds. And he’s only 20 years old.
Wil Nichol, the Knights’ Director of Player Development said he has not seen Morozov play in person in a while because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus. But the Knights have their European scouts on the ground in Russia and they have access to Morozov. Alex Godynyuk is a regular at Morozov’s games and according to Nichol, the reports he’s receiving from Godynyuk in Russia are positive.
We’re really happy with him — as a player and as a person. I’ve gotten to know him and he’s an incredible kid. In terms of his development, when he played at the World Juniors a couple of years ago, he was as good as any center in the tournament. He’s carried that over to the KHL. -Nichol
The Knights own his NHL rights. Unfortunately, Morozov has one more year remaining on his KHL contract so unless something happens and he is allowed to leave, we’re going to have to wait until 2022 for Morozov to sign his entry-level contract, come to the U.S., and get on a fast track to the NHL via Henderson where he could team up with Dorofeyev and give coach Manny Viveiros a 1-2 Russian punch up front.
Nichol said Morozov and Dorofeyev are good friends. Dorofeyev’s father coached both of them as kids so they have a bond.