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Mikhail Gulyayev: a possible Lane Hutson number two

The Canadiens hit the nail on the head when they drafted Lane Hutson with the 62nd overall pick last year. This time, there’s another player similar to Lane Hutson: Mikhail Gulyayev. When I say similar, it’s as much in his style of play, as in the reasons why he finds himself a little low in the draft rankings.

Lane Hutson was 5’8″ when the Canadiens took a chance on him. Most teams were aware of his talent, but his small size on defense scared a lot of people. He’s now 5’9″ and reportedly closer to 10″.

It was this small stature that allowed the CH to draft him so late. Some scouts even went so far as to say that with a few more inches, Hutson could have been drafted in the top 10, if not the top 5.

It’s very similar to the Gulyayev story. He’s currently ranked near the end of the first round of the draft. That’s far from bad, but he could be ranked higher if he wasn’t Russian and was taller than 5’10”.

In fact, former Tricolore scout Grant McCagg thought he’d be drafted in the top 10 last January.

According to McCagg, this is the kind of player with a very low floor and a very high ceiling. He can become a home run or not earn anything at all.

In 2022-23, Gulyayev collected 25 points in 22 games with Omskie Yastreby in the MHL, Russia’s junior league. He is completely dominant offensively and has an incredible skating stroke that makes him very effective defensively.

Of course, the problem is his physique, but that’s something that comes in handy. In any case, the NHL is full of small defensemen like Cale Makar, Quinn Hughes and Adam Fox, who do very well.

Speaking of Cale Makar, Grant McCagg, calls Gulyayev, “the Russian Cale Makar”! See why:

The NHL still doesn’t get it. A small player doesn’t mean a bad player!

Gulyayev is currently ranked towards the end of the first round or the beginning of the second round of the draft. He could go very early if a team is willing to take the gamble.

If the Canadiens keep the Panthers’ pick, don’t be surprised if they select Mikhail Gulyayev. Kent Hughes loves home runs.

In gusto

– I can’t wait to see who makes the top 10.

– A beautiful story this Father’s Day.

– The Blue Jays have quite a puzzle ahead of them.

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