Vyacheslav Voinov (Los Angeles Kings) is preparing for the NHL and this is one of the most painful losses suffered by Traktor during the offseason. It’s always unfortunate to lose a promising young player, especially a player who is a fixed leading member in the lineup at just 18. Baev and Denis Ezhov (Buffalo Sabres) also left and now Voinov, so Traktor seems to be facing a shortage of defensemen. Despite the fact that the player has an existing agreement with the club, the management can’t do anything but to left the player go and for the fans to wish one of the brightest young talents good fortune.
Tell us about your impressions from the draft. Did things work out as you wanted them to?
V. Voinov: I am glad that I was picked by the team that I wanted and fairly highly in the draft.
Do you think you could have been drafted higher?
V. Voinov: In principal yes, but this all depended on me and my willingness to go to North America when I was being interviewed.
How do you like the Los Angeles Kings?
V. Voinov: I had an agreement with this club and I am glad things worked out the way they did.
Maybe you wanted for another team to select you?
V. Voinov: No, I did not lean towards any other team. I simply found a common language with the management of Los Angeles, and they were very interested in me. Also the city is not bad and I am also lucky that Andrei Loktionov (Los Angeles Kings) was also drafted by LA.
Also Los Angeles picked a defenseman in the first round – Drew Doughty. Will this be your serious competitor?
V. Voinov: I turns out that there will be three defensemen competing for one spot – Dayghty, then they drafted another with the 13th pick (Kotlen Toybert – author), and then me. So, we’ll compete.
How do you evaluate your strengths in this fight?
V. Voinov: I don’t know – we will see how the training camp works out…
Did you ever wish to remain in Russia for another year?
V. Voinov: Of course I wanted to. I wanted to stay. However, I only one option – Los Angeles, and I gave them my agreement, and promised their people that I would travel to North America. This is especially the case, since I myself have an aspiration to play in the NHL.
Why does the NHL attract you so much?
V. Voinov: It’s my dream!
This is the best league in the world, the best players?
V. Voinov: Yes, the best league, the best players. All the best players play there.
Do you think you have a chance to secure a spot in the NHL?
V. Voinov: I don’t know. The club’s management gave me a chance. So, I think I have a chance and will giv it a try.
Do you understand that you will have to fight for your spot through the junior league, through the AHL?
V. Voinov: I considered all of that and I know what I am getting myself into?
It’s a foreign country, foreign language, foreign people – are you ready for that?
V. Voinov: I believe I am mentally ready for it, and we will see how it will work out…
What about the new rules that KHL will restrict players from leaving before they turn 21?
V. Voinov: My business – is to play hockey. There is a person who defends my interests, he advised me to go there and I believe that I considered everything.
Filatov and Grachev are also planning to go abroad – did you know this?
V. Voinov: It’s only public knowledge about them, but more than half of our U18 junior team plans to go over there.
Why so many young players are trying to go to North America?
V. Voinov: The KHL now includes a limitation only for a single junior player. Here our young promising players are not getting a chance to play and spend the entire season on the bench. This costs some players their careers and they are left with nothing left to do than go there.
The fans are calling Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) everything ranging from a foolish boy to a traitor… How would you respond to them?
V. Voinov: What does this mean a traitor? They don’t understand that a young player also has his own opinion and he also wants to play. Filatov did not get a chance to play.
But you did play. You were a key player in Traktor’s lineup.
V. Voinov: All of those close to me and those who know me consistently agree that this season has not been progressive for me. I believe that my growth has slowed.
And you believe you will be able to develop better in the NHL?
V. Voinov: There will be certain people who will be spending a lot of time to assure that. I will play, if not in the NHL, then in the AHL or in the junior league. They will be working with me and I believe there will be progress.
Do you regret leaving your home team?
V. Voinov: Of course I regret it. During the 12 years, from the moment when I started to play hockey, I played only on that team. But you always have to do something for the first time.