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2021 Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25: Artur Kayumov ships in at 23

Kayumov remains on the list, albeit far from his 13th place finish in 2020.

IHOCKEY-GAMES-SWE-RUS Photo by ERIK SIMANDER/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

Second City Hockey’s 2021-22 preseason Blackhawks Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the organization’s top 25 players under the age of 25 by Oct. 1, 2021. The rankings are determined by a composite score from all four SCH writers. 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.

Artur Kayumov fell from within the top 15 on last year’s list to number 23 not because of anything he did wrong — in fact, his points-per-game mark increased in arguably the second-best professional league in the world, as he went from 25 in 60 games to 29 in 57, aided largely by an increase in playmaking — but because patience is something that has run thin in Chicago recently, at least in terms of the on-ice product (sorry, Cubs fans).

Which is a real shame, because Kayumov could be a very productive middle-six winger in the NHL, as he has become in the KHL. While his shooting percentage dipped in 2021 — down six points from 2019-20 — Kayumov was still a threat at both even strength and on the power play as well.

There’s a reason the Blackhawks drafted the winger 50th overall in 2016, as Kayumov has the capability to help Chicago if he ever did head to America. No, he’s not putting up Artemiy Panarin numbers, but then again, Panarin is what, a top 20 forward in the NHL? Maybe top 10? Who is putting up Panarin numbers?

Kayumov’s emergence as more of a playmaker in 2021 was also refreshing to see, as he had just nine assists in 2019-20, nearly doubling his total in 2021. That side of the game is something Kayumov needs to continue to develop if he is to head to Chicago and make an impact.

Still, the Blackhawks have almost exclusive access to Kayumov as the team that drafted him out of Russia — their draft rights to the left winger don’t expire. If he is to come over, his current deal with Lokomotiv expires at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Lokomotiv, although they continue to make the playoffs, have never really done so as a contender, coming in either a distant second or third in their division to CSKA Moscow and in 2021 to Dynamo Moscow. Kayumov, if the Blackhawks perform as hoped, could see Chicago as a more likely place to contend.

Kayumov will need to display his new passing ability again in 2021-22 and show that he can get his goal scoring back to where it should be. But if he proves those things, his time in Chicago could be rapidly approaching, and he has time to move back up this list.