Ivan Chekhovich is the first of the 2017 draft picks to crack the Top 25 Under 25. The Sharks used a pick acquired from Chicago and drafted him in the seventh round at 212th overall.
The left-handed forward was an absolute steal. Scouting reports had Chekhovich falling in the 2nd to 4th rounds. It might’ve been his size (5’10”, 177 lbs) that let him fall so low, but Chekhovich was one of the most dynamic players in the QMJHL last season. A nearly point-per-game player, he led the Baie-Comeau Drakker in points. For under-18 players across the QMJHL, he was fourth in goals, third in assists, and third in primary and secondary points. If it weren’t for Nico Hischier setting the bar so high, Chekhovich might have made a strong case for the best player in the Q. As it stood, on paper, he was a solid third.
He represented Team Russia at the Under-18 World Junior Championships and scored nine points in seven games, finishing third overall in points. Though Russia would also come in third, Chekhovich would stand out as one of the tournament’s best players.
The most exciting thing about Chekhovich is his play-making ability. He’s comfortable at both wing and center, giving his future with the Sharks plenty of flexibility. His development will be one to watch.
Name: Ivan Chekhovich
Age (as of 9/9/17): 18
Position: Left Wing/Center
Last Year’s Ranking: N/A
2016-17 Team: Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL
Where he’ll (probably) be next year: Baie-Comeau Drakkar, QMJHL
What we like
His experience on the power play is exciting for a Sharks roster that will be faced with power play restructuring in the upcoming years. Chekhovich is a playmaker with an impressive hockey IQ.
What to improve on
As small as he is, Chekhovich should be faster on the ice. He struggles to make quick directional changes, which could keep him from having a solid two way game. If he can bulk up without slowing down, the extra size wouldn’t hurt him, either.
One of Chekhovich’s two four point games last season, this one coming against the Sherbrooke Phoenix in October. While that second goal is impressive, the first assist shows off his hockey sense and ability to read and make plays.