Vasily Podkolzin’s KHL season may be over with SKA St.Petersburg.
After returning from the World Junior Championships, Podkolzin found himself out of SKA’s lineup on Sunday night in a massive rivalry game against CSKA.
Some believe it was due to quarantining or just not being ready from the WJC, but two of his U20 teammates, Yaroslav Askarov and Maxim Groshev, were both in the lineup for SKA in the matchup.
Before we go any further, I just want you to know that I am using the “Vasily” spelling instead of “Vasili” as it seems like the “Y” will be used when he comes to North America. Don’t ask me why or how, I just think that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Daniel Wagner broke it down in-depth in this article.
The last KHL game that Vasily Podkolzin played in was on November 24th and he played 15:28 in that game, three and a half minutes more than his season average. Since then, he has been a healthy scratch multiple times.
Podkolzin is now back in Russia from the Edmonton WJC bubble but may not be a part of SKA’s KHL squad anymore during this season.
After a strong individual performance at the WJC, Podkolzin must have been feeling pretty good about where his game was at. He is an ultimate competitor and hates losing more than I hate raw onions. So to not even secure a medal in the WJC must have been tough on him.
Now, back in Russia, Podkolzin was sat out of what is one of the biggest games of the KHL season for SKA while a lower-skilled prospect like Groshev finds a spot in the lineup.
Eyebrows in Vancouver have been raised all season due to his deployment, but now it has fallen into the media around the KHL. According to journalist Dmitry Yerikalov:
The reason for Podkolzin’s reluctance to sign a new contract with SKA, expiring at the end of the current season. The 19-year-old hockey player wants to go to the NHL – to the Vancouver Canucks. There is a possibility that Podkolzin will no longer play in the KHL, but will keep fit in the VHL.
In another report from SportsDailyRussia, they claim that SKA has attempted to “smother” Podkolzin with a KHL contract extension.
The SKA organization typically gets what they want and they are attempting to tighten the grip on the 19-year-old Podkolzin to make him stay in Russia. Podkolzin wants to be in North America. He wants to be in the NHL.
This situation with him and SKA is messy and it’s tough to imagine what the young Podkolzin’s thoughts are on the fiasco. Podkolzin doesn’t do a lot of media availability with anyone in North America let alone reporters back in Russia. SKA has their leash as tight as possible on the young player and it’s hard to get a peep out of him.
In a Russian article, Podkolzin’s agent denies that he is done playing in the KHL this season but I am following up with the agent as you read this.
It’s been such a unique story to follow and Canucks fans cannot wait for him to be over here in Vancouver.