Saint Petersburg (17:00)
Nizhny Novgorod (18:00)
Saint Petersburg (19:30)
In 2020-2021, Dynamo Moscow did well in the regular season but faded after two rounds of the playoffs. That prompted big changes: the club’s new management replaced four fifths of the coaching staff and two thirds of the top line. The changes inspired more optimism than disappointment, despite the departure of the free-scoring Dmitrij Jaskin.
However, it turned out that not much would change. The Blue-and-Whites were not quite as impressive in the regular season, but still made the playoffs with plenty to spare. Then, in post season, we saw a virtual repeat of the previous campaign: a hard-fought victory over Severstal in the first round followed by a conclusive defeat in the second. The only difference was that instead of losing to SKA, this year brought defeat against city rival CSKA.
77 (27+50) points from 48 games
Shipachyov wasn’t just Dynamo’s leading player, he topped the scoring for the whole league and once again collected the Golden Stick award at the closing ceremony. It’s the third consecutive season that he’s been the KHL’s leading scorer, a feat that not even Sergei Mozyakin could achieve. And, for the second year running, the season’s leading goalscorer collected most of his markers thanks to assists from Vadim.
48 (31+17) points from 58 games
The forward who took the baton from Jaskin was Stanislav Galiyev. While playing alongside Shipachyov is an obvious advantage for any player, Galiyev’s own qualities should not be overlooked. Not only was he the only player to pot 30 goals this season, he also earned 23 penalties – the best result among Dynamo’s players and seventh in the KHL as a whole.
38 (21+17) points from 59 games
Rashevsky enjoyed his first full season in the KHL and established himself on the second line. Moreover, his contribution helped the team solve a longstanding problem and bridge the gap between the top two lines. Rashevsky’s goal tally was bettered only by Galiyev and Shipachyov, and his was Arseny Gritsyuk’s closest rival for the title of rookie of the year. Indeed, prior to the Olympic break, Dmitry was probably the leading contender for that prize.
Rashevsky’s emergence clearly owes much to Alexei Kudashov. Although Vladimir Krikunov brought the youngster into the roster, he only used him in a minor role. The difference between these two versions of Rashevsky is too great to suggest that it is purely down to an extra year’s experience. It’s far more likely that Dmitry was capable of more a year earlier, but was initially used to plug gaps in the roster rather than handed a defined role on the team.
Overall, Kudashov’s hockey was entertaining and often effective. However, those positive impressions were somewhat scuffed by Dynamo’s performance in the playoffs. The fact that post season was preceded by a long Olympic pause, during which time Kudashov was working with the national team, probably explains a lot. While it’s true that CSKA faced similar issues and went on to win the Gagarin Cup does not contradict this theory: every team has its own circumstances, and it’s no surprise that two teams facing similar situations can produce strikingly different results.
By the end of November, Traktor was duking it out with Metallurg for top spot in the standings. Dynamo climbed to second place in the West, but was still eight points adrift of a Chelyabinsk team occupying the equivalent position in the East. When the two met in Moscow, both were hot: Dynamo won its previous five, Traktor had six wins from seven.
The visitor opened the scoring, but subsequently the Muscovites seized the initiative. From the middle of the first period to the middle of the second, the host scored five goals. However, Traktor managed to battle back from 1-5, fall behind once more and snatch a late tying goal. But Dynamo found the final word: in overtime Andrei Mironov grabbed the game-winner.
We’ve already talked about 21-year-old Rashevsky. But there’s more to come from the juniors. In the near future, much is expected of Nikita Novikov, 18, and Bagdan Trineyev, 20. Ivan Muranov, 22, already has four seasons of KHL experience and is close to 200 games. There are also high hopes for Yegor Bryzgalov, Oleg Zaitsev, Vladislav Mikhailov, Andrei Pribylsky and Pyotr Yakovlev, all of whom have already featured on the first team. Given the abrupt change in the club’s selection policy, it’s fair to assume that there will be even more opportunities for young players to shine. At present, there are prospects ready to slot into any role.
Dynamo’s summer reshuffle represents the biggest rebuild seen at any club – and not just this season, but arguably in the entire history of the KHL. The Blue-and-Whites have completely disbanded the old roster and it’s no longer relevant to talk about replacing losses – next season we will see a completely new team, with more than half of the roster comprised of new faces. Among the new arrivals, Ilya Konovalov, Vladislav Koloda and Yegor Martynov stand out. There’s an on-going search for a right-handed defenseman, a center and a winger and it’s possible that these slots will be filled by imports. Eric O’Dell’s return cannot be ruled out; his absence after the first round of the playoffs seriously hampered Dynamo’s prospects in the second series.