No one saw the pick coming.
When the Blue Jackets selected Yegor Chinakhov with the 21st overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, every draft analyst was left quite confused. No one had the Russian going in the first or second round, and very few had him going in the third.
It's no secret by now that GM Jarmo Kekäläinen loves to try and find hidden gems, and he may have found one in Chinakhov. The winger likely won't be in the NHL until the 2024 season, so his development overseas will be something to keep your eye on.
He seems to be doing fine so far. Last night, Chinakhov registered three assists as Avangard Omsk won 6-3. They currently sit second in the KHL's Eastern Conference.
Career-high -assist night for 19-year-old Yegor Chinakhov. pic.twitter.com/kZ3Ig4LZ1V— KHL (@khl_eng) October 24, 2020
With those three assists, Chinakhov now has 6-6-12 in 17 games in his first season in the KHL. The best part? He's only 19 and he has so much potential to grow into. Here's what his first assist looked like last night:
Chinakhov's speed and hands were on full display as he found a teammate for the goal. Kekälainen and the rest of the Blue Jackets' front office will certainly be monitoring his progress as the season continues, but if Chinakhov signs the three-year contract that has been offered to him by Avangard Omsk, he won't be able to join the Blue Jackets until the 2024-25 NHL season. Even if that's what ends up happening, Chinakhov will only be 23 when the contract expires, and he'll likely be ready for NHL minutes.