One of the main issues holding the Carolina Hurricanes back is their goaltending. Petr Mrazek wasn’t consistent and James Reimer is past the point of being a potential starter, while prospect Alex Nedeljkovic had a down year with Charlotte in the AHL.
In last summer’s draft, the Hurricanes selected 20-year-old goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov and are hoping he could make an impact down the road. He’s spent his entire career in Russia and he played the majority of his season in the KHL this year, managing a .905 save percentage in 14 games. Though there's quite a bit of hype around Kochetkov, it may be best to set realistic expectations for his development.
Here are how some of his stats match up against other top Russian netminders when they played in the same league as Kochetkov at the same age.
It is worth noting that Kochetkov's numbers were much better with Vityaz Podolsk, where he posted a .917 save percentage (he had just an .887 save percentage in six games with SKA St. Petersburg). These are also some very good goalies that he's being compared against and his stats are strong overall. That said, it shows that at this stage in his development, Kochetkov isn't where to majority of the NHL’s other top Russian goalies (or soon to be) were at in the various stages. He's going to need quite a bit of time before he's NHL-ready and it'll likely be a couple years before he's a serious candidate for the Hurricanes' crease.
There’s certainly a possibility that Kochetkov will be an NHL starter down the road, the Hurricanes just shouldn’t necessarily be banking their future in net on him. Carolina needs a starter and should look to acquire one in the near future, independent of Kochetkov’s development.
Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be discussed this weekend):
What is your projection for Pyotr Kochetkov's future role with the Hurricanes?