Coyotes submit stunner, take Dmitriy Simashev at No. 6
The Arizona Coyotes selected Dmitriy Simashev with the sixth overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Weight: 198 lbs
Club: Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
NHL Central Scouting final ranking: 19th among European skaters
|Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)||33||1||11|
|Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)||18||0||0|
Few players in the 2023 draft class have been ranked in as wide a range as Simashev.
Evaluators from outlets such as Elite Prospects, The Athletic, and The Hockey News have ranked Simashev as a top-10 prospect. Others, including those from Sportsnet and TSN, have had him outside of the first round.
The debate largely comes down to tools versus production. Simashev has been lauded by scouts for his size, mobility, and defensive prowess. He also only scored one goal and 12 points in 33 games against Russian junior teams, ranking seventh in the league among draft-eligible defensemen in scoring rate.
Simashev began to change the negative perception of his offensive upside with a stellar performance in the MHL playoffs, in which he tallied an improved two goals and six points in 10 contests.
He didn't look out of place in 18 KHL contests, either. Though he only averaged 6:55 per game, it's rare for a 17-year-old defenseman to play in the KHL at all. Shakir Mukhamadullin, a 2020 first-rounder is the only blue-liner to have played more KHL games at the position at the same age.
Then there's the unknown surrounding Simashev. He's never had the opportunity to play at an international event due to Russia's IIHF sanctions. A vast majority of scouts are evaluating his talent through video, and all are doing so from games played exclusively against KHL and MHL competition.
Simashev's under contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl through 2024-25, meaning the earliest he can sign an NHL contract and play in North America is when he's 20 years old.
What they're saying
"Size, skating, maturity, and confident puck-moving capabilities, it's all there for Simashev," wrote FloHockey's Chris Peters. "His offensive numbers were somewhat troubling this year, but they improved as the season wore on, and he showed a more aggressive offensive skill set when playing among his age peers as opposed to playing with pros."
"He is an excellent skater, physical force, deft puck-handler, crisp passer, and an intelligent defender with a booming shot," wrote The Hockey News' Tony Ferrari. "Simashev could easily be the best defender in the draft class if he can pull his package all together when surrounded by talent that is better."
"Simashev competes hard, has some physicality in his game, and showed in the first half he could play against men at a young age," The Athletic's Corey Pronman wrote. "I see a lot of indicators of a two-way top-pair defenseman in the NHL, even if I don't think he'll put up big point totals."
Click here to watch Simashev's highlights.
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