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First week of the KHL’s regular season has quickly gone by and now it’s time to look at who were the best performing U23 players. This week’s edition features three SKA players — amongst them a sixteen-year-old. All three army men are joined by strong prospects from Moscow based clubs, Spartak and Dynamo.

Kirill Marchenko

F, SKA St. Petersburg

3 G, 4 (3+1) points

Marchenko is only 21 years old but he has already become a stud for his team. During the first week of the regular season he earned an impressive four points in three games. First he scored the opening goal of the season against Severstal Cherepovets — a simple wrist shot after opponents made a mistake in their own end. His so far stand-out game came against Admiral where he netted two and assisted oncel. First Kirill gave his team a 4:0 lead after a solo raid with a goal from the middle of the offensive zone, while the third goal was a group effort to put an end to the game which ended with a score of 9:2.

Marat Khusnutdinov

F, SKA St. Petersburg

3 G, 4 (1+3) points

While his teammates went after goals — Khusnutdinov helped set up goals while managing to sneak one into his points total as well. He collected at least one point in all three games his team played and won. Against Severstal his assist helped to tie the game, against Admiral he earned a secondary assist on the team’s fifth goal. However, he shined the brightest against Lokomotiv Yaroslavl — first helping set up Joonas Kemppainen’s goal that gave SKA a 2:1 lead, but later the Finnish forward returned the favour — Kamenev won the face-off Kemppainen quickly found Khusnutdinov who then roofed the puck past Eddie Pasquale showing just how important offensive zone face-offs are.

Matvei Michkov

F, SKA St. Petersburg

3 G, 3 (2+1) points

A star is born — Matvei Michkov. He managed to score his first KHL goal at 16 years and 271 days. The hockey world has already been talking but now it is talking even more after a spectacular performance against Admiral. His first goal went into history — he became the youngest SKA St. Petersburg player to score a goal in a KHL game, later on he added his second goal — both came on powerplay. First goal came very easy for him as his teammates set him up perfectly and all he had to do was put the puck in the net, however the second goal was his trademark — a spectacular wrist shot that all hockey fans love and appreciate. His third point of the game came from an assist at the end when he helped set-up Kirill Marchenko’s goal.

Dmitry Rashevsky

F, Dynamo Moscow

2 G, 2 (1+1) points

Rashevsky played a big role in both games vs Minsk and Sibir Novosibirsk. The 20-year-old forward is playing on a powerhouse team with quality teammates and he himself has looked decent so far. In the opener which was the Dynamo derby between his Moscow side and Dinamo Minsk he demonstrated what he is capable of. Stanislav Galiyev pushed the puck towards the young right winger who quickly found Vadim Shipachyov and a cross-crease pass was perfect to send the puck into the net earning him first assist of the season. His passing is beautiful but his goal scoring is even more impressive. A man advantage — Rashevsky first gives his teammate a decent scoring chance but when the goalie stops that — he simply takes the puck, does a little twirl and uses his wrist-shot to beat the opponent and get himself a power-play goal.

Alexander Nikishin

D, Spartak Moscow

3 G, 2 (0+2) points

The 19-year-old Nikishin has been spectacular just three games into the season and he began it very early — his first point came on teams first goal of the season in the opening game against Admiral Vladivostok. The player also managed to help his team beat another eastern conference squad — Amur Khabarovsk in that game earning his second assist of the season. The youngster ignited the teams first goal with a pass that sent his teammate on one-one-one, although the goal was scored with a repeated attempt, he still earned a secondary assist on Ivan Drozdov’s goal. His coaching staff seems to trust him as he has played big minutes in all three games so fans can certainly expect more from him.

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