Kirill Kabanov might be the ultimate example of how attitude issues (and the confusion that comes with dealing with unpredictable Russian players who lack much in the way of transfer regulations) can affect a player’s status with an NHL team. The New York Islanders prospect was described as some by a high-end prospect but plummeted to the Islanders in the third round because many believed he has some, well, personal issues.
Whether the heavily-tattooed Kabanov is a “good boy” as he claimed or not, he certainly didn’t make a great first impression with the Islanders today, as Chris Botta reports that he showed up late to the first day of the team’s prospects camp.
Say this for Kirill Kabanov: he did not disappoint. The 2010 draft pick with all the tools but a few screws loose reported late to the first day of prospect camp.
Say this for Islanders hockey ops staffers: they did not sweep Kabanov’s tardiness under the rug. The Russian winger was kept off the ice for the first day of camp. The easiest thing to do could have been to let it slide – and keep it out of the news – with a warning to Kabanov. Instead, the Islanders know they don’t have a perfect kid on their hands, which is why he was available in the third round in June.
Good on Garth Snow for putting the hammer down. Of the strikes (we learn about) on Kabanov’s way to earning an Entry Level contract, let’s see how many the kid gets.
The next few seasons will have a huge impact on whether or not the talented but troublesome Kabanov can make an impact on the Islanders roster. Here’s a write-up about the Russian prospect from Hockey’s Future.com.
A speedy winger who plays the game with boatloads of energy and has the hands to make the puck dance, Kabanov’s game still needs plenty of work, especially in adding strength to match his enthusiasm on the ice as well as improving his play without the puck. After what is essentially a lost year developmentally, the upcoming season will be essential for any future success he might have.
It will probably be some time before Kabanov can realistically make the jump to the NHL – whether he’s a “good boy” or not – but if he does indeed succeed, he could be an interesting personality to follow. The Islanders just hope he isn’t too much of a personality.