Yegor Chinakhov, whom the Blue Jackets selected with the No. 21 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, oozes goal-scoring ability.
HOW BOUT THAT YEGOR-BOMB pic.twitter.com/TuwXkUqLe7— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) November 26, 2022
However, because of multiple injuries, including a high ankle sprain that kept him out of 52 NHL games in 2022-23, he's played in just 92 NHL games in his first two professional seasons, posting 11 goals and 27 points. He did perform well upon his return from the ankle injury, scoring three goals and eight points in seven games with the AHL's Cleveland Monsters.
SILLY CHINNY pic.twitter.com/hewgI4s4Eb— Columbus Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) October 30, 2022
On a Blue Jackets team loaded with forwards, where does Chinakhov fit?
Sillinger, Chinakhov, Voronkov, Texier...the options are plenty for new head coach Mike Babcock.— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) July 11, 2023
How could the Blue Jackets assemble a new-look (and potentially potent) third line? #CBJhttps://t.co/9FfWVfQjr9
He has the goal-scoring ability to play in the top nine but the production hasn't been there with just 9.80 goals/82 games, especially when you look at the other wingers on the roster. With the top-six wingers likely being Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine, Kent Johnson, and Kirill Marchenko, Chinakhov will be competing with Alex Texier, Justin Danforth, Dmitri Voronkov, and others for spots in the bottom six.
If Chinakhov doesn't make the team out of training camp, he can be sent down to the AHL without having to clear waivers, so playing in Cleveland to start the year is always an option. He signed a one-year, $800,000 deal for the 2023-24 campaign and will be an RFA after the season.
This is a big year for the 22-year-old winger, and while the best role for him this season may be a third-line winger, he's going to have to earn that spot every day with the other wingers on the roster.