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Author: Alessandro Seren RossoDate: 05/08/2009 seasonal awards!

2009 Continental Hockey League (KHL)
For the first time ever, awarded the best prospects of the year. KHL inaugural season has been extremely interesting, even if it had a little less room for youngsters, and we havenít left out players in North America. Despite being Russia mainly a forwards-factory, the top two awards landed in the defensive zone.
But now itís time for the awards to come!

Russian based prospect of the year: Maxim Goncharov (Phoenix Coyotes)

In his sophomore season Goncharov suffered no second year slump as he raised his game to the next level even earning the call to the Russian national team. The 19 years old defenseman, who plays for CSKA Moscow, scored a good amount of fifteen points in the regular season, seven goals and eight assists, logging more than twelve minutes per game earning some ice time in the powerplay thanks to his blistering shot from the point. He has been valuable in the matches he played with the national team, but he was cut prior the WC. Not a problem, he has plenty of time to become a NT regular in the years to come. He looks very interested in joining the Coyotes soon, but he still has one year of contract with CSKA.

HMs: Konstantin Glazachev (Nashville Predators), Sergei Shirokov (Vancouver Canucks), Denis Parshin (Colorado Avalanche), Yuri Alexandrov (Boston Bruins)

Glazachev would have been awarded if he was a couple of years younger, and the same could be said about Shirokov and Parshin, who had a good season, but their stock isnít too high considering their age. Alexandrov had a good season too, returning back from a serious injury who limited him to 26 games, but logging almost twenty minutes a match.

Foreign based prospect of the year: Dmitry Kulikov

Easy call. The winner of three QMJHL awards, Kulikov has played an outstanding season getting now consideration for a top 10 pick in the upcoming draft. His Drummondville Voltigeurs are just one match far of the Presidentís Cup for the winner of the QMJHL championship. Kulikovís ability at both ends of the ice are his top feature. He is a dominant player if he turns his A game up. During this year heís been also a valuable member of the WJC bronze medal winner Russian team.

HMs: Andrei Loktionov (Los Angeles Kings), Evgeny Grachev, Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets), Vyacheslav Voinov (Los Angeles Kings)

Prior the start of the playoffs, the seasonís second best valuable player should have been considered Evgeny Grachev, but Loktionovís stellar play in the post season is absolutely more worth. Curiously, the two players are facing each other in a tight OHL playoffs final series, which is seeing Loktionov playing solid, and Grachev losing a game because of a flu and not being that important. Plus Loktionov has been on the scoresheet in every match of the series. After a not easy start of the year, Loktionov has became a force in the OHL just to explode in the playoffs, in which he is the second overall topscorer. Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets) played a very good season, even posting an NHL hat trick, but overall he played not too many matches, even if at higher level. Vyacheslav Voinov (Los Angeles Kings) has had a good season too, scoring 23 points as a defenseman in his AHL rookie season. Very strong numbers.

KHL Most improved prospect: Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers)

Getting out of Ak Bars Kazan, Andrei Zubarev (Atlanta Thrashers) found a new home in Mytischi where he had an excellent second half of season, being among the best players for his team in the playoffs and even earning the call to the national team for the preparation matches towards WC, where he played a couple of matches on the first line. A defensive kind of defenseman, Zubarev improved in all the areas, and thatís a good news after that his development stagnated in the Tatarstan team. Heís also willing to drop the gloves and step up for his team mates, and itís yet another interesting thing about him.

HM: Konstantin Glazachev (Nashville Predators)

Call him a late boomer, but Glazachev has been a top-10 scorer this year.

Top Forward of the year: Nikita Filatov (Columbus Blue Jackets)

After his debating move outside of Russia, Filatov had a strong season in the AHL. Scoring almost one point per game thanks to sixteen goals and as many assists in thirty-nine matches he really showed that he can make it through the North American system even if the road in front of him is not short. His seasonís top feature is his first NHL hat-trick scored against the Minnesota Wild back in January, right after the WJC, in which he was very good too. Hopefully Filatov next year will get a regular spot with the Blue Jackets.

Top Defenseman of the year: Maxim Goncharov (Phoenix Coyotes)

Winning the prospect of the year honors, Goncharov gets also the defenseman of the year award. The Coyotes are going to get a top four defenseman soon.

Top goaltender of the year: Stanislav Galimov

One of the few overage goalies available at the 2009 Entry Draft, Galimov, 21, has played an excellent season and he played around the 50% of matches even if he was only the backup goalie first behind Dubielewicz, then behind Norrena. Thanks mainly to his agility and quick glove hand, Galimov ended the regular season with 21 victories in 26 games, with seven shutouts and .928 saves percentage. In the playoffs he had to step up after Norrenaís injury and in the seven games he played he posted again good numbers: four wins, 1.67 GAA, .926 and one shutout. Will someone take a gamble at the draft?

Top underager of the year: Vladimir Tarasenko

Tarasenko has simply played an outstanding season at his age. The late-91 born, 2010 eligible player had his first full KHL season and scored seven goals, and plus heís been team Russiaís top scorer at the last WJC U18, where he was also voted as the tournamentís top forward. Tarasenko is right now one of the front runners for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft with Kirill Kabanov and Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Related Player Profiles: . Y.Alexandrov N.Filatov S.Galimov K.Glazachev M.Goncharov K.Kabanov D.Kulikov E.Kuznetsov A.Loktionov D.Parshin S.Shirokov V.Tarasenko V.Voinov A.Zubarev
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