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Ivan Demidov: if he doesn’t sign another contract in Russia, he won’t be playing in the KHL in 24-25
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Ivan Demidov is a talented player, but one who comes with question marks.

And obviously, if the Blackhawks don’t select him second overall, the Ducks and Blue Jackets could pass, leaving the Habs the choice of whether or not to draft him.

We know that the Habs want him, but I imagine that despite everything, Habs executives will want answers to their questions next week, when the prospect will be talking to the teams.

The biggest red flag in Demidov’s candidacy is his Russian factor. It’s all very well to talk about his size or his injuries, but the fact is, the way he’s treated in Russia is getting a lot of attention.

On the surface, this may not seem as bad as Matvei Michkov, since the Flyers prospect had a three-year contract in Russia at the time of the 2023 draft, while Demidov has only one at the time of the 2024 draft.

But SKA doesn’t see it the same way.

In fact, as The Athletic reports and as Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin discuss on their podcast, if Demidov doesn’t want to sign a contract extension in Russia, he shouldn’t be playing in the KHL in 24-25.

This is SKA’s way of putting pressure on Demidov to sign a contract extension.

What you need to know is that Demidov is telling teams that he has no intention of signing a contract extension in Russia. He wants to play in the NHL by the fall of 2025.

The result? He’ll be stuck in the minors next year.

He’s already gone to the MHL – Canada’s junior equivalent – in 2023-2024 and was too strong (again, obviously for contractual reasons) for the others, so the experience could be repeated.

This is also why it’s hard to evaluate him: the caliber of MHL play is uneven across the league. We don’t know if he’s played against big players. The Habs, who have branches in Russia, may know, though.

Will seeing Demidov play at the wrong level for one year scare off Habs management? In my opinion, for just one year, it shouldn’t. David Reinbacher may have played at the wrong level in 2023-2024, and nobody’s worried about that, after all.


– CapFriendly and the NHL had an ugly relationship. The league didn’t think such data should be public.

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