With the team’s final pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, San Jose selected Belarussian forward Yegor Rimashevsky. The Sharks clearly went for size with their last two picks. Its earlier seventh-round selection, center David Klee, is a 6-foot-3, 187-pound center.
Rimashevskiy stands at 6-foot-3 and weighs 197 pounds. His size was a major advantage playing in Russia’s junior hockey league, but it is still unclear if his combination of size and skill will support him against bigger and stronger players. While many had not heard of his name before this draft, Rimashevsky is nonetheless an interesting and enticing selection.
Position: Left Wing
Date of Birth: February 1, 2005
Weight: 198 lbs.
MHK Dynamo Moskva (MHL): 29 games, 26 points (13 G, 13 A)
MHK Dynamo Moskva (MHL) Playoffs: 7 games, 1 point (0 G, 1 A)
The forward was ranked 36th amongst European skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 90th on McKeen’s Hockey Scouting Report. From EliteProspects’ 2023 NHL Draft Guide, Rimashevsky was seen to have “good playmaking habits” and an ability to consistently turn the play into a good scoring opportunity.
In 29 games in the MHL, Russia’s major junior hockey league, Rimashevsky scored an even 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points. The season before, playing for the same MHK Dynamo Moskva, he scored 13 points in 24 games. Despite an injury that caused him to miss almost three months of the season, he was still tops on his team in points and a leader in points per game. He is set to play for the same club in the 2023-24 season, where the forward will look to expand on those totals.
What do the scouts say about Rimashevsky’s game?
Although he missed significant time with an injury this past season, Rimashevsky managed to impress enough scouts in the few moments they were able to watch him. One scout noted that his “skating was mediocre and his pace felt quiet.”
What are his redeeming qualities, then? The consensus seems to be that Rimashevky boasts skill as a stick handler and is capable of playing a responsible north-south game. When he was on his game, when it mattered for MHK Moskva, Rimashevsky managed the puck well enough and created offense by taking the puck to the net.
He is not considered to be NHL-ready by any means. Across the board, scouts consider that his puck skills still need to be elevated and his shot needs to be strengthened. Who knows where he could have ended up had he played a full season and had more games to develop his shot?
In the next couple of years, with experience against professionals in the KHL and some extra muscle on top, Rimashevskiy could be a candidate for a power-forward role in the Bay Area. It’s possible that with some extra brewing, the Sharks could have a future NHL top-9 forward in the midst.
What’s next for Rimashevsky?
In an interview with a Russian sports publication following the draft, Rimashevsky stated that he still has two seasons left to play in the MHL, then that it would be “necessary to get a foothold in the KHL.”
Based on this, we might not expect Rimashevsky in North America for another one or two years. It is possible he may get some KHL experience next season, but either way, this appears to be a longer-term project. The Sharks can afford to be patient; there is no need to rush the development of a prospect right now.
There have been many reasons to doubt a Russian prospect’s ability or desire to come to North America given the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Matvei Michkov’s draft status took a tumble largely because of this. If Michkov’s post-draft interviews are any indication, however, the Flyers can expect him to join their ranks sooner rather than later. Michkov’s confidence should prove to be a positive sign for any prospect in a Russian league.
Of course, Rimashevsky is of a completely different status than any of his Russian and Belarussian counterparts drafted in the earlier rounds. San Jose’s organization will simply have to wait and see how his development pans out and how the shifting global conflict may or may not affect his likelihood of playing in the AHL or NHL in the coming years.
Drafts are often compared to lotteries, especially the late-round choices. In a rebuild, the Sharks were wise to retain and acquire as many draft picks as they did. We don’t know who will become the next Joe Pavelski, who was chosen 205th overall in 2003, but the first step is to draft and take a chance.