At 186th overall in the sixth round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the New Jersey Devils drafted defenseman Daniil Karpovich of Avto Yekaterinburg of the MHL. The New Jersey Devils have went into this draft with three streaks. An OHL player, which was accomplished with Cole Brown earlier in this round. This pick continues the streak of picking a player from a KHL or MHL-based team. Let us learn more about Karpovich.
According to Elite Prospects, Daniil Karpovich is a Belarussian defenseman born on December 6, 2004. He is listed at 6’3” and 209 pounds, which is another large frame at least somewhat filled out. He played for Avto Yekaterinburg of the MHL last season after three seasons in Belarus with Minskie Zubry in 2019-20 and two seasons with Team Belarus’ U-17 and U-18 teams. Karpovich’s contract is listed as ending in 2022-23, which I am taking to mean that he is out of contract.
With Avto Yekaterinburg, Kaprovich put up 10 goals and 35 points in 47 games while also earning the honor being the MHL Defenseman of the Month for October 2022 as well as MHL Defenseman of the Week three times after. It appears to me that Karpovich was among the better defensemen in the MHL. He absolutely was one of the most productive as he finished fourth in the whole league in scoring by defensemen. He also averaged close to 20 minutes per game, so he was one of Avto’s top defensemen too.
Since he is out of contract, I wonder if the parent team, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg will re-sign him and promote him. It may behoove the Devils to try to get to him first, sign him to an ELC, and then loan him back though. There is clearly a player to develop here. His production means Karpovich looks good among prospect models, such as Patrick Brown’s (a.k.a. TopDownHockey) model as per this tweet:
#NJDevils select Daniil Karpovich 186th. I ranked him 36th.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) June 29, 2023
Top remaining forwards:
1. Connor Levis (38th)
2. Yegor Rimashevsky (40th)
3. Yegor Klimovich (44th)
Top remaining defensemen:
1. Mazden Leslie (39th)
2. Magomed Sharakanov (48th)
3. Ben Robertson (65th) pic.twitter.com/TyuLPKSEwh
For more details about the player beyond the numbers, Dayton Reimer of The Hockey Writers profiled him earlier this week. Based on his profile, Karpovich is an under-the-radar prospect insomuch that few have seen him and the quality of his competition has not been great. Reimer noted that his team was in the weaker MHL division and while Karpovich represented Belarus in the past, it was in Division 1-A. It is a question of how well Karpovich will do against better players. That said, Reimer does note plenty to like about how he plays:
From the few clips that can be readily found, it’s clear that Karpovich has a strong shot and he’s not afraid to use it. ... But what makes his shot so dangerous is his patience. He will wait near the blue line, watching the play develop, and when a puck sneaks by a teammate, he’s ready to pick it up and fire it back at the goalie.
Karpovich is also a strong defensive player. At 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds, he already possesses an NHL-ready frame and he doesn’t shy away from physicality. He also skates well for a bigger player and, combined with a long reach, is hard to beat by opposing forwards looking for a breakout. But what makes him the hardest to play against is his competitiveness. No matter the matchup, he’s determined to get the upper hand and will try to knock the puck free by any means necessary.
Reimer’s profile includes quotes from Corey Pronman and Steven Ellis that back up the idea that Karpovich could be something in the future if his skills do hold up if/when he plays against tougher competition.
As much as I agree with that concern being legitimate, I also agree with Reimer’s assessment that this is the kind of player that could get some traction late in the draft. Which is exactly what happened as the Devils selected him. I think this is a good player as any to take a swing on late in the sixth round. He was at least very successful against who he played against. His body may already be fully developed. What he has demonstrated warrants tougher competition. I like this prospect being taken at 186th overall. Again, I think the Devils would be smart to sign him to an ELC to get more control of the player’s rights and then loan him out somewhere where he will play tougher minutes than what he would get in the MHL.
Now that you know what I think about the pick and learned a bit more about Daniil Karpovich, please feel free to give your reaction to the pick in the comments. Please also vote in our 24 hour poll (ends at 2:15 PM), that will lead to a later post describing what you, the People Who Matter, thought of the pick. Thank you for reading.
The Devils drafted Daniil Karpovich at 186th Overall. What do you think of the pick?
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