Spending the past nine seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, Shipachyov enters the NHL with experience and playmaking talents that stood out overseas. He realistically could begin the season as the #1 center and is almost guaranteed powerplay time. In terms of potential line mates, he could have goal scorers James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault. Regardless of the talent around them, that is an offensive and dynamic line. He recorded 76 points last season in the KHL (good for third in the league)
Several Russian players have proven how efficient they can be at making a late-career transition to the NHL. Last season, with SKA Saint Petersburg he scoring 26 goals and 50 assists for 76 points in 50 regular season games. He added another 4 goals and 20 assists for 24 points in 17 playoff games and won his second Gagarin Cup last season.
Based on the average change in scoring of players who have gone from the KHL to the NHL in the past, it’s expected that Shipachyov will retain 76.7 percent of his scoring. That means Shipachyov’s 2016-17 season would have translated to 79 points (27 goals, 52 assists) in 68 NHL games. This figure is not always accurate, so more realistic expectations should be made for the Russian center.
Keep in mind he only has a two year contract in the league and likely would like a long term deal at the end of the deal with Vegas. Radulov was an exceptional player in fantasy last season if you took him in the appropriate rounds. He was projected based on scoring to sit between 50-60 points. Shipachyov is projected to have an even higher scoring ceiling, sitting around 55-65 points. If his line mates continue their scoring prowess that they possessed on previous teams, we could be in for a real treat.
At the international level, he has played Team Russia on three previous occasions at the IIHF World Championships during the 2014, 2015 and 2016 tournaments. He won a gold medal in 2014, silver in 2015 and bronze in 2016 where he led the entire tournament in scoring and assists with 18 points on six goals and 12 assists. He also played for Russia during the recent 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto. So his talents to translate to an NHL level, while not being employed on an NHL sized rink.
In terms of fantasy value, he doesn’t hit or block shots often. Same with PIMS, he’s not likely to be dropping the gloves anytime soon. So he is less relevant in banger leagues. But in terms of raw points, 55 points late in the draft would be an excellent deal.
There is a low risk, high reward on Shipachyov, as he hasn’t been overhyped in the NHL. He also doesn’t have the name recognition and hasn’t been overanalyzed like every rookie in the league so far.
My advice, take him late. He only is eligible for the center position, and likely will get passed on by casual leagues. His ADP will be high, making his value increase. He has no NHL sample size, so he is a worthwhile risk if you can get a solid fantasy team around him. From his games history in the KHL he isn’t injury prone, and plays on a team that really has no expectations.
Embrace debate, but if you can take him late (depending on league size, that could vary) or in an auction draft i’m sure you can get a bargain on him.