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2020 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Andrei Altybarmakyan at No. 23

Altybarmakyan is set to make his AHL debut after spending three seasons in Russia.

Kontinental Hockey League: HC Sochi vs Spartak Moscow Photo by Dmitry Feoktistov\TASS via Getty Images

Second City Hockey’s 2020-21 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2020. The rankings are determined by a composite score from three SCH writers and community member, L_B_R. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. All four ballots will be released after the series is completed.

Andrei Altybarmakyan continues to build on previous seasons.

He went from zero points in 14 KHL games in 2017-18 to six points (two goals, four assists) in 38 games in 2018-19. He upped that amount to 17 points (six goals, 11 assists) in 49 games in 2019-20. All while playing with one of the lesser teams in the KHL in HK Sochi, who was one of eight teams (out of 24) to miss the playoffs.

Altybarmakyan has been described as a puck hog, but he has the ability to shoot and skate with the best of them. His production numbers could be better, but as a young player in a top international league, he continues to show decent potential.

The Russian winger has great skating and a good amount of skill, including stick handling, but the question is whether his hockey IQ can improve to keep up with his speed to put it all together on a consistent basis.

He produced at both even strength and on the power play. Not all of his goals came from his odd-man rush ability, but his speed does allow for it and adds to his ability to transition the puck. It’s off the puck where he’ll need to improve.

Altybarmakyan didn’t see a lot of ice time to make an impact, but that could change in the AHL.

What’s next?

Altybarmakyan will spend his first season in North America with the Rockford IceHogs. He should be able to prove how well his game transitions. The AHL season is projected to start Feb. 4, but Altybarmakyan could be a productive player for Rockford.

“He’s a very skilled player,” Jokke Nevalainen, head of European Scouting for Dobber Prospects, said after Altybarmakyan signed. “He’s been playing at the men’s level for three years. He has a lot of experience playing against men, but his usage has been quite limited in the KHL. It’s hard to say really how much he’s developed over the past couple of years. Obviously, his point production has been increasing and he’s been getting more and more opportunities.

“I would expect him to spend the entire season in the AHL, and maybe even start the following season in the AHL as well.”