NHL Draft Profile 1.0 features a prospect who fits the NY Islanders identity

Some prospects entering the 2024 NHL Draft already boast some pro hockey experience, and one potential addition to the NY Islanders is that kind of player.

Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25) seen in...
Russia U20 Hockey team player, Igor Chernyshov (25) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders are a team in dire need of some strong prospects, and with the 20th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, they can land a player with a bright future in the NHL and one who fits the team’s overall style. A player like Igor Chernyshov looks like a good fit just from watching his game film, and Tankathon seems to agree, having mocked him to the Isles in the first round as of June 7th. 

Since Chernyshov would be a fine choice for the Islanders toward the end of the month, let’s take a deep dive into why that’s the case. But if you’re looking for the short story, here’s what I got for you: He’s a no-frills player with power forward tendencies whose overall simple approach won’t bring fans out of their seats. But Chernyshov’s style of play is nonetheless effective, and it’s worked in his favor. 

Who is Igor Chernyshov?

Igor Chernyshov will immediately bring pro-ready size to an NHL organization’s prospects pool, as he’s already 6’2, and 196 pounds. At least a point-per-game forward, Chernyshov snagged 38 of them and 18 goals in 38 games at the MHL level in 2022-23 before that number improved to 28 points and 13 goals in 22 games the following season. 

Chernyshov has already seen 39 regular season games at the KHL level, where he has just five points, but that number will surely increase in 2024-25. Per Elite Prospects, Chernyshov’s contract runs through 2024-25, so he’ll definitely play at least one more season in Russia before deciding where to continue the next leg of his career. 

As a quick snapshot, Chernyshov’s size indicates the potential to be a power forward, and a full season at the KHL level should help him prepare for such a role when he decides to venture to North America. He’s also an incredible point producer when playing others at his own level, so once he fully develops, look for that trend to continue at the next level.

What makes Chernyshov such a dynamic player?

Igor Chernyshov’s skating is definitely one of his strengths, and if opponents let him reach anywhere near top speed, Chernyshov is hard to stop. He can also take the puck across the length of the ice, leaving opponents lagging behind, which lets him to make a play in the offensive zone, or to dish the puck elsewhere and allow a teammate to finish the job. 

Chernyshov’s strong skating and overall size let him crash the net at will when he can get behind opponents. This also allows him to engage in one-on-one battles with opposing goaltenders, giving him a chance to show off an adequate shot and raise the likelihood he will end a sequence with a goal. 

Chernyshov also doesn’t need to score highlight-reel goals, as he’s fine with playing a north-south game and using a simple yet powerful shot to either put the puck in the back of the net or get a potential rebound. This isn’t to say he won’t score on one-timers, but most of his goals will come with a low-key approach, yet it works for him, even if he has room to improve it. 

There’s also nothing fancy about his puck control, so you won’t see Chernyshov light up the highlight reel with breathtaking plays. Instead, he will do just enough to keep the puck from an opponent before either crashing the net for a scoring chance or passing it elsewhere. 

This also means Chernyshov is that player willing to score “dirty goals,” and it’s why so many of his best plays have either come while he’s attacking the net or if he’s setting up shop somewhere near the crease. He’s also not always attacking down the wing, instead preferring to take the puck up the middle and take on as many opponents as necessary to make something happen. 

What is Igor Chernyshov’s best attribute?

Igor Chernyshov possesses strong skating and a decent shot, but they’re not his top attributes. Instead, Chernyshov’s ability to scan the ice, process what he’s seeing, and make the appropriate passes stand out. Hockey IQ, in other words, is what makes him such a great player. 

Chernyshov is also patient, knowing he doesn’t need to make a quick pass and allowing his teammates to get open before he launches the puck their way. Once again, it comes down to his ability to process the game, and knowing just how much he needs to put on each pass. You won’t see him firing pucks and over-leading linemates if the situation calls for a touch pass, even if there’s some traffic in front of him. 

Chernyshov is also good at anticipating where his linemates will end up, meaning he will pass the puck into a specific area, knowing someone will get a stick on it and either continue the sequence or finish it with a goal. 

What areas of Chernyshov’s game must he improve?

Despite a willingness to score dirty and make a living playing a north-south game, you may get the vibe that Igor Chernyshov brings a high compete level. But this is an inconsistent part of his game, at best. Not that he won’t engage in puck battles along the boards and either win them, or if he can’t get to the puck in time, chase down and backcheck an opponent in an effort to regain control. 

He’ll also engage with an opponent in one-on-one races to the puck toward the back corner, and when he wins those races, Chernyshov will process the situation, attack the net, or dish the puck to a linemate. Once again, it’s a simple albeit high IQ game that won’t entertain most hockey fans, but it’s players like Chernyshov who help win those close contests with that style of play. 

But the consistency isn’t there, so until he’s constantly chasing down opponents, winning puck battles, and refusing to get caught puck-watching, he will boast a complete yet unspectacular game. When he’s puck-watching, Chernyshov can also get lazy, half-heartedly holding out his stick to try and make a play, but that doesn’t often end well. Those avenues of his game must improve, and if they do, he will be a very good hockey player for someone. 


(Statistics powered by Elite Prospects)