Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
exclusive for khl.ru
One of the highlights of the current season has been the increasing influence of young players in the KHL. It’s often been observed that the unique circumstances surrounding this season have given an opportunity for the next generation to show that it is ready to play at the highest level. Young players are getting a chance not just to play, but to take a leading role. And they are taking that chance.

The current season is barely two months old, but we already have a record number of U20 players taking part in KHL games. These juniors have successfully stepped up to fill the gaps when their older colleagues have needed to isolate due to COVID. And this weekend, the league’s top juniors will face another big test when they represent Russia at the Karjala Cup, taking on experienced international opposition.

Alexei Morozov, KHL President

We are very happy to see how our young guys are forming the backbone of Russia’s national team to take on Europe’s strongest nations in the Euro Hockey Tour. As recently as last season, several of these players were still in the Junior Hockey League but today they have a big role in senior hockey in the KHL. The best have matured to the level where they can join Team Russia. In a challenging environment, these guys have displayed the skill and character to convince their coaches that they can be trusted at the highest level. I think that says a great deal about the effectiveness of our hockey structures.

Record numbers of Juniors

From Sep. 2 to Nov. 1 we have seen 247 games, just over 35% of the regular season schedule.

So far, 91 U20 players have featured in games in the 2020/2021 season — and that’s already a record for the KHL. The previous best was back in 2009/2010 when, including playoff games, 90 junior players featured in the KHL.

Given the performances we’ve seen from our youngsters so far, it’s entirely possible that the class of 2021 will go on to break records for the total number of appearances and goals in a single season. See below for the current stats:

 

U20 players 

Games 

Goals   

2020-2021

91

434

42

2019-2020

82

1203

61

2018-2019

70

1115

60

2017-2018

75

1074

69

2016-2017

76

1334

66

2015-2016

85

1447

84

2014-2015

74

1287

73

2013-2014

73

1183

65

2012-2013

52

811

61

2011-2012

50

718

60

2010-2011

67

1067

81

2009-2010

90

1714

103

2008-2009

84

1189

91

Record average age

For the first time in KHL history, the average age of our players has dropped below 27. At the time of writing, it’s 26 years, 299 days. Previously, the ‘youngest’ season was 2013/14 with 27 years, 110 days. A year ago, the average was almost nine months older at 27 years, 210 days.

On a club-by-club level, nine teams have iced their youngest ever roster — often repeatedly. Amur, Ak Bars, Neftekhimik, SKA (twice), Dinamo Riga (twice), Sochi (twice), Kunlun Red Star (three times) and Dinamo Minsk (five times) have all set new records for their youngest ever teams.

At the time of writing, 163 players have made their KHL debuts this season. With barely a third of the regular season played, the current campaign places ninth for the number of new players. There’s plenty of time for more and it is entirely possible that we could see this season climb to at least third place (currently 2015-2016 with 186 rookies). The all-time record dates from 2013-2014 when 215 players made their KHL debuts. That season saw two new teams join the league.

Most goals for 10 years

It’s interesting that younger players seem to bring more goals. So far this season we’ve enjoyed an average of 5.36 goals per game. That’s the fourth highest in KHL history and the best for 10 years. The most prolific season in our history was 2010-2011 with 5.57 goals per game. Next comes 2009-2010 with 5.56, then 2008-2009 with 5.48.

Andy Potts Andy Potts
KHL press office KHL press office
exclusive for khl.ru
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