It was a long summer for Vitaly Abramov, the Blue Jackets' top prospect.
He had off-season surgery on his wrist, causing him to miss development camp and the Traverse City prospects tournament. It's safe to say that, with preseason action now in full swing, Abramov is excited to be cleared and back on the ice.
“I’m so excited to go on the ice finally after the big summer,” Abramov said.
This is a significant camp for Abramov, as he knows he can’t be sent back to junior hockey.
He had a brief stint in the AHL after the 2016-17 season and was great in four games, putting up four points. Barring a strong showing in the preseason, it seems likely Abramov will start the season in Cleveland, which might be the best course of action for him. You don’t want to rush him; if he has success in the AHL, then absolutely bring him up. The AHL is a tough league, as it took Oliver Bjorkstrand two seasons there before he really established himself as an NHL regular.
Abramov is aware of all this, and is using it as motivation to make the Blue Jackets.
“It means a lot for me. I work hard for that, the fact that I can’t go to junior, will push me even harder to make the team," he said.
Fresh off of a 104-point season and leading the QMJHL with a 1.86 points per game, Abramov knows he still has a lot to work on to make the NHL.
“I got to decide faster on the ice, make my decision faster, and that’s what the difference is everything is much faster than in juniors, so I have to adjust to that,” Abramov said.
Decision-making is an area where Abramov thrived in junior. He made quick decisions and even had the awareness to pull off moves like this.
If he’s focused on making decisions faster...watch out. He’s racked up over 50 assists in each of his QMJHL seasons, and this is a player who's able to get the puck to his teammates in good scoring areas. He’s not only able to find his line mates, but he himself displayed the ability to get into prime scoring areas as well. Listed at 5-foot-9, Abramov still tied for ninth in the QMJHL with 11 high-danger goals, on 30 high-danger shots. His 36.67% shooting percentage on high-danger shots was sixth among players who took 20 HD shots, per Prospect-Stats.
The first exhibition game didn’t go great for the Blue Jackets or Abramov: he played 16:58, and only had one shot on goal. He didn’t have any scoring chances at 5-on-5, though he did have a 60% Corsi. Going into the game, however, Abramov only had one thing in mind:
“Have a lot of fun tonight, (and) everyone is so excited to get back on the ice.”
Follow 1st Ohio Battery