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.
When talking about Russian prospects, one forward immediately pops into the minds of most Blackhawks fans: Artemi Panarin. Although it’s been three years since he was traded out of town, he remains the Blackhawks international discovery in quite some time whose impact is still felt within the organization.
That impact is still felt when the discussion turns to prospect Artur Kayumov, who remains the Blackhawks best Russian prospect and their second-best prospect currently playing abroad.
Kayumov is earning time on one of the most talented squads in Russia. While Lokomotiv might not have the reputation of powerhouses like CSKA or St. Petersburg, they had the second best offense in their division during the 2019-20 season and marched towards the playoffs. Kayumov was a middle-six contributor for that team at the relatively young age of 22, putting up 16 goals and averaging 15:31 of ice time.
With the 2020-21 season under way, Kayumov has already posted 11 points in 24 games. One noticeable improvement from last season is an uptick in his assists tally, with Kayumov already at six assists after having nine all of last season. That was an aspect of Kayumov’s game that needed work, as Kayumov already possessed an accurate shot and can contribute in his own end. Kayumov’s ice time has also increased to 15:50 per game so far this season.
Kayumov has also had plenty of playoff experience with Lokomotiv. He’s been in the KHL playoffs in each of the last three full seasons and he’ll likely see more this season, with Lokomotiv once again in second place in its division.
Kayumov will spend the full season with Lokomotiv and recently signed a two-year contract extension that keeps him in Russia through 2021-22, It’ll still be a few more years until he’s able to do so, but should Kayumov sign with the Blackhawks, there’s a chance that he could be come an immediate contributor as a top-six winger.