With the 36th overall pick, the Carolina Hurricanes select goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov. In the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, many experts considered the Hurricanes’ visit to Vancouver a big success, Kochetkov is one of those successes.
Pyotr Kochetkov was ranked as the second or third best goaltender in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, being ranked in the top three with Spencer Knight and Mads Søgaard. Knight went on to be selected at 13th overall by the Florida Panthers and Søgaard was selected at 37th overall by the Ottawa Senators, behind Kochetkov.
Kochetkov has been solid through his tenures with multiple teams, as he progresses and moves. Kochetkov’s time with Dizel Penza (VHL) and Dizelist Penza (NMHL) combined, saw him only let up 1.965 goals-against-average and a .916% save percentage in 14 games. In the playoffs for Dizelist Penza, Kochetkov let up 2.29 goals-against-average and a .923% save percentage in 8 games. All of which were played in the 2016-17 season.
The following season, Kochetkov moved up to the MHL with the Kapitan Stupino, giving up 3.18 goals-against-average and a .917% save percentage in 31 games in the 2017-18 season. By this point, Kochetkov earned some starts in the Kontinental Hockey League with HK Sochi, with 2.57 goals-against-average and a .911% save percentage in 2 games in the 2018-19 season.
He may not be able to speak English (yet), he is able to make the big saves, as he only gave up 2.13 goals-against-average and a .930% save percentage for HK Ryazan in the VHL in 18 games this past season. In the playoffs, he really made a name for himself by only letting in 1.61 goals-against-average and a beastly .955% save percentage in 3 playoff games. His year went so well, he went on to steal the goalie show in the 2019 IIHF World Junior U20 Championship.
In five games with Team Russia in the World Juniors, he only let up 1.45 goals-against-average and posted a .953% save percentage. With his stellar skill, he went on to being noticed as the U20 World Juniors Championship Best Goaltender, leading Team Russia to a Bronze Medal, making him a Bronze Medalist, while also being recognized as a U20 WJC Top 3 Players on their team.
Kochetkov is currently under contract with SKA St. Petersburg for the next two seasons, but can play a good year in the American Hockey League once he’s done or jump straight into the National Hockey League, depending on the situation of the goaltending of the Carolina Hurricanes two years from now, which could be as wild as this offseason or likely, less.
The two years in the KHL won’t hurt Kochetkov, but it will actually help him a lot to develop a faster game, especially with a team like SKA St. Petersburg, who has NHL-caliber players like Nail Yakupov, Nikita Gusev, 10th overall pick Vasily Podkolzin and Magic Man Pavel Datsyuk. The veteran leadership and star power of players like Datsyuk will develop Kochetkov immensely, as Datsyuk has won two Stanley Cups and a Gagarin Cup (plus, he’s going to get those magic mitts against him in team practice).
Kochetkov is definitely the future of goaltending for the Carolina Hurricanes (watch this be some bad take in a few years or something, I jinxed it, right?). Kochetkov plays so well, he’s well-balanced and doesn’t overplay his net, he won’t slide out of position too often, although his 6’3″ height is very helpful and taller goaltenders tend to be less agile, it’s not the case for Kochetkov. Kochetkov is poised and focused, which is vital for a very young goaltender, he is only trending upward. He is a future starter. A true gem selection by Don Waddell and Co.