Isle's Kabanov disallusioned with the NHL
Kirill Kabanov was considered one of the top five NHL prospects entering the 2010 NHL draft.
The native of Moscow, Russia had skill unrivaled except by Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin in his draft class.
But unfortunately for him, question marks surrounding his attitude and character as well as the KHL risk made him the fourth Russian taken in the 2010 draft – all the way in the 3rd round.
Risks surround all Russian hockey players. The players picked before Kabanov all had high skill levels but their commitment to the NHL and character were never questioned.
Winnipeg’s Alex Burmistrov is entering his second NHL season after making the NHL right out of the draft.
Vladimir Tarasenko, a St. Louis Blues first round pick captained his team to a gold medal at the World Junior Championship in December. He is expected to come to North America after this 2011-2012 season.
The Washington Capitals have never feared drafting a Russian hockey player and once again did so by drafting Evgeny Kuznetsov in the late first round. He has rewarded them by finishing second in the World Junior scoring in December. He too is expected to come to North America next season or the year after.
However, Kabanov got cut from that same World Junior squad that Tarasenko and Kuznetsov led to victory. Kabanov was then traded from the Moncton Wildcats to the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) where he had an up and down season. He had an excellent playoff run with 20 points in 15 games.
Kabanov joined the New York Islanders for training camp in September but was returned to his junior team that no longer exists, the Lewiston MAINEiacs. His rights were picked up by Blainville-Boisbriand Armada but they have already reached their limit on imported players. So he cannot play for them.
As a result, Kabanov is stuck in limbo. He cannot play in the AHL without his QMJHL team’s permission. He cannot play for his QMJHL without a trade of him or another imported player. His options are now down to the Swedish Elite League or KHL – two leagues that are risky for the Islanders because players sometimes do not come back from there.
In addition to these struggles, Kabanov spoke out against the NHL today which will further cloud his future.
“Everyone [in Russia] kept saying ‘NHL, NHL.’ You get there and will be famous.. As a boy I had an impression [the NHL] was paradise. But when I came here I realized that the made-up image and reality are different things.”
“Perhaps I made a mistake that I didn’t stay [in the KHL] and went [to North America] hoping I’d be the number one pick”
Also according to Chesnokov, Kabanov is no longer welcome in the KHL due to criticisms he made of the league.
So you have a player with attitude problems not good enough to play in the NHL.
Not given permission to play in the AHL by his QMJHL team.
Not allowed to play for his QMJHL team.
Not welcome in the KHL.
So pretty much his only options are a trade in the QMJHL or a season or three in the SEL.
This has been such a big fall for the supremely talented Kabanov. While there is still time to resurrect his once promising career, his character concerns will likely limit his ability to get second chances that other players might get in his position.