What Does The Future Look Like For The Blue Jackets 5th Round Goaltender, Sergei Ivanov?

By Dan Greene on July 20, 2022 at 10:15 am
Ryan McCullough/HHOF-IIHF Images

On Tuesday, Will Chase took a closer look at Kirill Dolzhenkov, the Columbus Blue Jackets' 4th round selection in the 2022 NHL draft. Now we examine the club's 5th-round pick, Sergei Ivanov.

The Blue Jackets entered draft night without a fifth-round selection, however, that changed part-way through when they traded their 2023 fifth-rounder for the San Jose Sharks' 138th overall pick in this year's draft. That pick turned into lefthanded goaltender, Sergei Ivanov.

While Ivanov is listed as a member of SKA Saint Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), widely considered the top professional league outside of the United States. He has yet to see any game-time action. Although, he is only 18 years old, and it is very common for players to not see the ice in the KHL till they are somewhat older than that.

Ivanov may not come with very high expectations, at least not right off the bat, Seeing as he was selected well outside the top 100 picks in this summer's draft. But the 5-11 goaltender out of Chernushka, Russia is no stranger to defying the odds.

International play is where Sergei Ivanov burst onto the scene. Much to the surprise and delight of everyone that was fortunate enough to watch any of Russia's Youth Olympic or U-18 World Championship games. He is 8-0-1 in international tournament play, including a legendary performance in an overtime loss to Finland. He recorded 52 saves in that game, and the only thing that would have made it more exhilarating is if his team had been able to eke out the victory. Nevertheless, some of his accomplishments include helping to lead his team to gold medals in both the Youth Olympics as well as the U-18 World Championships. He did all of this while posting 2.36 goals against average (GAA) and a .920 save percentage.

Two things that stick out about his performance at the U-18 World Championships are that he was one of the youngest players in the entire tournament and that he started the tournament as Russia's third-string goalie. Before it was all said and done, he ended up in the conversation for best goaltender in the entire tournament. This kid has already blown right past the standard that was expected of him. 

The only question now is will he be able to continue to do that and not only make the Blue Jackets roster sometime in the next few years but also rise to the level of some of the late-round great netminders, such as Pekka Rinne or Evgeni Nabokov. He has shown potential, but how much does he have left, and can he unlock all of it?

These are the questions that the Blue Jacket organization will attempt to answer in the next several years. Fortunately, he has plenty of time to marinate in the prospect pipeline before he will ever be called on to defend the net at Nationwide Arena.