2022 Top 25 Under 25: Mikhail Abramov is #20

The jump from junior to professional hockey is difficult for many prospects. It really helps to look at the bulk of the transitioning players so you learn who the real gems are. A prospect struggling in his first year as a pro doesn’t guarantee that he won’t be an NHL player in the future, but it’s not a good sign that he could be a star. And when that player already had questions about his future prospects in the NHL, he doesn’t paint a rosy picture.

The player

Mikhail Abramov has been on the verge of being a genuinely attractive prospect in recent years. He was selected after good statistics in the QMJHL. He followed it up with an outstanding season: 35 goals and 76 points in 63 games, near the top of the league in leading goals and points. The next season, the pandemic season, wasn’t as flashy for points, but he helped lead his team through the playoffs in a surprise run to become the QMJHL champions. There was some excitement to see what he could do this season as an AHL rookie.

And he did… okay. He scored 7 goals and 28 points in 66 games, playing an estimated 14-15 minutes per game. That was tied for 19th for D+3 players in the AHL, with Nick Robertson playing just 28 games. Even in primary strength points, he was 18. Having only six powerplay points didn’t help, but many players his age had the same number or less than AHL rookies. By comparison, Abramov is only six months younger than SDA, who also had his rookie season in the AHL, and SDA had 6 more goals and 4 more points in 15 fewer games.

Abramov’s offense was fine, his defense seems to be below average, both from the times I’ve watched him and from his underlying numbers. His offense, which will be his daily bread, was not as good as expected, much less as good as expected. And there’s no obvious reason either, he doesn’t fight known injuries or illnesses, and due to other injuries and illnesses, he often played as the center back or even front row. It’s not that he lacked opportunities.

If you want to hold on to one hope, it’s that Abramov seems to be a bit slower to adjust to his level. He exploded in his second QMJHL season and maintained a similar level in his third year. It looks like the Marlies will be pretty stacked this season compared to last year, with Robertson, Anderson, Steeves, Holmberg and Abruzzese likely starting the year with the Marlies.

That can lead to Abramov playing lower down the lineup, but that can also be good for him. They will have a good set of wingers to find who can play him better, and he can spend more time learning and growing to be successful in the AHL. But the big question will be whether he will show enough improvement this season to change his outlook for the future.

The path to the Leafs these days for a non-top prospect like Abramov isn’t purely offensive. You have to drive transitions, you have to kill penalties, you have to play good defense; in other words, you have to fit in a useful and reliable NHL depth. That’s not really Abramov’s profile right now. So he’s going to have to become more dominant offensively, and we’re talking about what Nick Robertson has been or more dominant to give him a comparison, or show dramatic improvement in other areas of the game. A balance of the two might also be possible, but either way, this is going to be a pretty big season for Abramov.

the votes

Last year, Abramov was ranked 11th in the T25U25. The previous winter (our weird winter ranking due to the pandemic) Abramov was ranked 10th.

Therefore, his ranking has dropped quite a bit to 20th this year. And I admit I was one of those who ranked him very high the last couple of years, I really thought he would at least show better offense relative to his age in the AHL, but he just didn’t.

Votes of Mikhail Abramov

Voters Classification
Voters Classification
Species fifteen
Katia fifteen
seldom 18
Brian twenty-one
tomk421 22
dammit
Josh – Smart Scouting 19
Hardev sixteen
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Polak 19
Average weight 19.00
highest rank fifteen
lowest rank 22
Spread in votes 7

All but one of the voters ranked Abramov in the top 25. Six of them had him in the top 20, two had him 15th. I ended up having him 21st, which may have been too big of a drop given how bad 15-25 players are as prospects. But now I’m struggling to see his way into the NHL.

This is what the other voters had to say:

dhammm: 26 in my ranking. Abramov didn’t blow the doors open in his first AHL season and didn’t score enough in the QMJHL to justify the hype or earn the benefit of the doubt. He’s an AHLer but not an especially potent one, so while this might seem tough for a D+3 forward prospect and while I’m intrigued as to what his sophomore campaign will be like, players who put up just adequate numbers like this at all levels in your career tend to become nothing.

TomK421: Pretty decent AHL season for a newbie I guess? It would be nice if he could stay center and be a cheap 4th liner in a few years.

Katya: I ranked Abramov 7th last year and have him 15th this year. Part of that change is because last year he wasn’t sure about Roni Hirvonen, Matt Knies and Topi Niemelä. I also wanted to rank Abramov’s potential above some of our known numbers, like Travis Dermott and Denis Malgin. Now I’m pretty sure about Knies, and I have some hope for all the recent second- and third-round picks. For me, all of these players pushed Abramov down the list, as did some of the older players with clearer NHL potential. I’m not disappointed with his first season in the AHL. The Marlies had a very weak team with many young prospects in a perpetual mix of forwards and, apart from injury-plagued Nick Robertson, no one you could call the AHL’s elite. Abramov didn’t show much growth, but it’s still impossible to tell if he’s peaking or just showing up as a guy who plays 3C with no one to score on his passing plays.

Poll

Will Abramov play 100 NHL games in his career?

  • 19%

    yes i still believe

    (49 votes)

  • 36%

    Maybe if he goes to a bad team that needs bodies in a year or two tank

    (95 votes)

  • 43%

    No, I do not think so

    (113 votes)


257 total votes

vote now

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