Kirill Slepets is not only one of the Carolina Hurricanes most mysterious prospects, he’s also one of the most intriguing. Join me as I dive into his story.
When you dream of something your whole life, and see your chance of achieving that dream come and go before your eyes without being able to intervene or do anything about it, that’s an absolutely crushing feeling. Ask Kirill Slepets. He went undrafted in his 2017 draft year, and was then undrafted once again in 2018. But the Carolina Hurricanes would change that.
But this kid, he’s persistent. He didn’t allow his hopes being crushed twice to demoralize him, and put together a phenomenal 2018-19 season. He scored 12 goals in 17 games in the Russian junior league, played 10 games in the KHL and dominated the World Juniors with a 5-goal performance in that tournament. He was out to prove that NHL teams missed the mark on him, twice.
In 2017, he was ranked as high as 40th by ISS, and in 2018 he had first round buzz at some points, before not being selected either time. You might be wondering: why? There’s a few possibilities. Slepets is tiny – he’s listed at only 5’10, 146lbs. He’s also played his entire life in Russia, which could lead to roadblocks in getting him over to North America. But his talent was worth taking the chance on.
Going into the 2019 draft after his stellar season, Slepets was ranked as high as the second round as a double overager, and was ranked as the 91st best prospect by renowned prospect analyst Corey Pronman. Slepets, after watching 19 rounds go by and 585 names called that weren’t his, finally got what he’d worked for, and his dreams became reality when Carolina selected him 152nd overall in the 5th round.
What the team saw in Slepets will excite Canes fans. He’s been touted for his blazing speed as well as his great shot. He’s got a good release, and overwhelms defensemen with his acceleration. One scouting source listed his NHL comparable as Carl Hagelin – ideally a second or third line winger with offensive ability, can kill penalties and play all situations. A really useful player