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Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 for 2017: Artur Kayumov starts the list at No. 25

Kayumov bounced around last season, but his upside remains tantalizing.

2016 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images

It’s time for our annual ranking of the Blackhawks’ best players under age 25, a list that begins with forward Artur Kayumov. One of the team’s second round picks from the 2016 NHL Draft, Kayumov is a speedy winger who looks set to play the 2017-18 season in the KHL. He’s got high upside in the modern NHL despite a lack of size, and remains one of the top lottery tickets in Chicago’s farm system even after an underwhelming draft year.

Key info

Position: Winger
Birth date: Feb. 14, 1998
Acquired via: Second-round pick (No. 50 overall) in 2016
Most recent stop: Loko Yaroslavl — MHL
Size: 5’11, 176 pounds
Contract: Unsigned

Breakdown

The Blackhawks took a shot on Kayumov during the 2016 NHL Draft with using their first two second-round picks on Alex DeBrincat and Chad Krys. A year before, the team seemed to target size with many of its picks, and it swung back to focusing primarily on skill the past two years.

Kayumov was well-regarded entering the draft. He was ranked No. 64 in the 2016 class by ESPN’s Corey Pronman, so roughly within the range of where he was selected. “He's small, but every other element of his game impresses,” Pronman wrote before the draft.

The 2016-17 season didn’t quite go according to plan for the winger. He spent most of the season with Loko Yaroslavl in the MHL, Russia’s top junior league, where he recorded 19 points in 33 games. That’s actually a drop in production from the previous season, where he recorded 31 points in 39 MHL games.

Kayumov also put up seven points in 12 games in the VHL, Russia’s second division league, and had a brief stint in the KHL.

In all, it was an underwhelming season for Kayumov, who couldn’t even match his old numbers in the MHL. The good news is that he’s still very young and very skilled, so there’s a long road ahead for him to reach his potential.

Few players in the Blackhawks’ system have the pure skill of Kayumov. He’s the definition of high-risk, high-reward, but that’s enough to sneak into the back end of our Top 25 Under 25 rankings.

What’s next in 2017-18?

Kayumov appears to be making a push to play full-time in the KHL next season. He’s been playing preseason games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl recently, including this game-winning shootout goal:

Getting an opportunity to play regularly against superior competition in the KHL would be good for Kayumov. There’s always the complication of getting the player over from Russia, but the Blackhawks will hold his rights indefinitely because of the lack of a proper transfer agreement between the NHL and KHL.

Kayumov could gain the Blackhawks’ attention quickly with a good season in the KHL. He’s still worth keeping an eye on.