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Patrick Khodorenko: 2017 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

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Today in another AATJ prospect profile, we look at California native and center Patrick Khodorenko. This past season, he was one of the youngest players in NCAA hockey, playing in every game for Michigan State. Will that experience help him get drafted by an NHL team?

CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game
Khodorenko would be in the blue and red.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Patrick Khodorenko is a California native hailing from Walnut Creek, just east of Oakland. Although he had the option to enter the WHL and play his junior hockey there for the last few years, he opted for the USA route instead. Patrick played the majority of his junior career with the United States National Team Developmental Program, playing for both the U.S. National U17 and U18 teams. This past season, however, he entered the college ranks, playing as a freshman for Michigan State in the Big 10. While many would probably consider the WHL a potentially better route, going the route he did has paid off for many, Steven Santini coming to mind more recently with New Jersey.

Usually there is a strong chance that a young 18 year old would be undersized in the college ranks, but Patrick is listed as a 6 foot, 207 pound center, so he has good size for the position. Should he be taken by the Devils or anyone else, he will most likely spend the next two or three years at Michigan State before joining the ranks of the pros.

Who is Patrick Khodorenko?

-LINK TO ELITE PROSPECTS STATS-

Khodorenko was a star in the making early on. He dominated in Bantam, posting 40 points in 23 games back in 2012-13. From what was noted by SBN College Hockey writer Chris Dilks, he was very highly touted at the time, and was taken very high in the WHL Bantam Draft with the hopes that he would commit to that route.

After that, however, his progress slowed. He still performed pretty well in 2014-15, posting 20 points in 35 games for the USNTDP Juniors and then another 33 points in 55 games for the USA U17 team. Had he continued to progress from there, the following year you would have expected to see growth. In 2015-16, however, he had only 3 points in 18 games for the USNTDP Juniors and another 13 points in 43 games for the USA U18 team. He did struggle with injury that year, missing the World Juniors, but those numbers are the type that will drop you off of everyone’s draft board.

This past year, however, he has come back onto the scene. Because he committed to a Spartan team that has been quite bad (they went 7-24-4 this past season), he was able to jump right in and receive good playing time, playing in every one of Michigan State’s 35 games as a true freshman. His numbers might not pop out at you, but 18 points in 35 games is nothing to scoff at for a freshman playing against all older players in the NCAA. That number tied him for 3rd amongst all Michigan State players and 35th amongst all drafted or draft eligible freshmen. Like with his first year in the USNTDP program, he laid down a strong foundation by which to improve upon. Last time, he followed that up with a very down year. If he can continue to improve this time, however, he could turn out to be a quality prospect.

Where is Khodorenko Ranked?

At Central Scouting, Khodorenko was ranked as the 106th best North American skater entering the draft. This was an improvement over the midterm rankings, where he was at 127. That improvement showcases the quality year he was having at Michigan State. However, a ranking in that area is probably only good for a late round choice, perhaps a 6th round selection, maybe late 5th round if a team out there values him higher than Central Scouting does.

The Draft Analyst, which I have seen be considerably different from what Central Scouting says, is again skewed to the positive side. He has Patrick as the 85th best player entering the draft. When you consider that Central Scouting is ranking him only against other North American skaters, while The Draft Analyst has everyone all bunched together, that is a big difference. 85th would be good for a 3rd round choice. So there is clear upside here, at least according to some.

At Future Considerations, Khodorenko has fallen. Back in the fall, he was ranked as the 65th best player entering the draft. By the winter rankings he had fallen to 79th, and by the final spring rankings he was off of their top 100. It is interesting that he fell this year, despite his strong season at Michigan State. I could see if he fell last year leading up to his freshman year, and he should have, but Future Considerations sees it a different way. Either way, at this point he is no longer ranked on their top 100, and this falls more in line with Central Scouting than it does The Draft Analyst.

What Others Have Said About Khodorenko

As I mentioned earlier, SBN College Hockey came out with a draft profile on Khodorenko only recently. Chris Dilks, the writer, is very blunt about what he likes about him and what he does not. First, here are the positives:

“Khodorenko is a really strong forward with good upper body strength. He has the ability to fight off defenders with the puck, gain position in front of the net, and win one-on-one puck battles. This, combined with decent puck skills gives Khodorenko some intriguing offensive upside…Good NCAA numbers…It’s not easy for a player to play college hockey at that young of an age and have success. Khodorenko wasn’t dominant by any stretch, but held his own and scored at about the rate one would expect for an NHL Draft pick his age.”

From that description, you can see that his solid 200 pound frame came in handy. Strong upper body strength gives him the ability to push defenders off of the puck, and that can translate up if he maintains that same level of strength. However, here are the negatives he writes about:

“There was a time when Khodorenko was one of the top players for his age group…Since then, Khodorenko’s development has slowed dramatically. He was okay in his first season with the NTDP, and then completely fell off the map in his second season with the Program. The fact that Khodorenko started so far ahead of the pack, and so many players have now caught and passed him doesn’t bode well for him…One of the big reasons Khodorenko has failed to be as productive in recent years is that his skating is a major weakness. When he was younger, his burly size was enough to compensate, but he struggled to keep up as his competition got faster.”

The downward trend of his development overall is definitely a concern. He did bounce back this year for a nice season, but there are major question marks as to whether or not that will continue. It might not keep him from being drafted, but it will most likely keep him from being drafted as high as someone like The Draft Analyst projects him as. It seems like speed and skating ability could be the issue with his development too. As he has played against better and better competition, he has found it harder to hide his skating deficiencies. That will only continue as he gets older, and it will absolutely need to be worked on.

Sadly, it is hard to really find much out there profiling him. I did find an article from November where it discusses how Khodorenko would be seeing increased playing time for Michigan State thanks to some injuries. A teammate of his, Taro Hirose, said:

“He has the offensive talent, but he definitely cares about the defensive zone, too. There’s times where you’ll be skating up the ice and he’ll find you, slipping it under a guy’s stick and didn’t think it was possible to get you the puck.”

Again, it is not much, but it is praise coming from a teammate about him being both defensively responsible while also showcasing playmaking abilities to get others the puck to generate scoring chances. Take it how you will.

Draft Site has their 7 round mock draft, and Khodorenko is on it, although he would like to be much higher for sure. The website has him being taken all the way down in the 7th round at pick # 217 to Pittsburgh. I am guessing that is because they do not see him as a major prospect, but they do not have a write up on him so I cannot be certain.

A Little Video

Just like with the profiles, there is not much video out there either. With his poor 2015-16, it just seems clear that many people wrote him off instead of continuing to cover him. The first video is from February of last year when he was playing for the USNTDP. The goal comes around the 43 second mark and showcases a good intuitive break towards the net at the right time.

Here is another goal from last February, again while playing for USA U18. This one is a pretty slick move to beat the Czech goaltender.

If you’re interesting in getting to know him or listening to him speak, here is a video from this season where he was asked five questions:

My Take

When researching Khodorenko, I continually felt the opposite of how I did when I was researching Jack Studnicka, who I wrote about on Friday. Both of them were similarly ranked in Central Scouting, but that was about it. Despite falling down to #120 in Central Scouting’s final rankings, I felt that Studnicka was projecting the right way. He was rated very highly by 3rd party rankings, there were good profiles out there, and mostly all of them strongly highlighted his strengths while not really harping on negatives. That could be because of biased coverage of course, but I still got the feeling that he was projecting in an upward arc, even if Central Scouting disagreed.

With Khodorenko, I feel the opposite. He is ranked higher by Central Scouting than Studnicka is, but other than that I do not see him as the stronger prospect. He has not consistently trended up each year of his development, but rather his development looks like a roller coaster, with strong play from 2012-14, quality but not great play from 2014-15, a really down year in 2015-16, then back to some quality play this past season. The latest trend is in the positive, but will it continue that way?

You could argue yes, and he does seem to have some skill to back that up, but if that were the case, you would also think that there would be more hype about him. However, he is not well ranked anywhere else outside of The Draft Analyst, and almost no one has really profiled him outside of our own SBN College Hockey site. To me, this all means that he is someone that should only be taken with a late round flier. A seventh round pick on him would be comfortable with me, and perhaps a 6th rounder if Ray Shero is somewhat higher on him. However, I would not look for him before then. I could be wrong, and he could go higher as The Draft Analyst projects; however, I just don’t see it. Chris Dilks of SBN College Hockey seems to agree with me, as he wrote that he “likely wouldn’t use a pick on him, but I can also see the other side of it, and wouldn’t be surprised if some team didn’t take a late-round flyer on Khodorenko.” I hope we are wrong and he turns into a great prospect, but we shall see.

Your Take

What do you think about Patrick Khodorenko? Do you think he can once again showcase the amazing skills that led him to great success early in his career? Or, do you agree that his projection is more downward than upward? Would you use a late round pick on him, or look elsewhere? Please leave your comments below, and thank you for reading another prospect profile here at AATJ!