|Author: Alessandro Seren Rosso (RP.com exclusive interview)||Date: 06/10/2010
|Q&A with Andrei Kuchin 's agent|
|2010 Canadian Junior Leagues|
Russianprospects.com had the chance to talk with Andrei Kuchin's agent, Scott Deady. The agent shared with RP.com correspondent Alessandro Seren Rosso some interesting insights about his work with Kuchin, about his projection for the upcoming 2010 NHL Draft and about an agent's life.
Hello Scott. What if you tell something about you to our readers?
I've played hockey since I was 3 years old, growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. I knew I wanted to work with professional athletes after I competed in the 2001 Tretiak Cup in Chicago. We hosted Russian players Sergei Shirokov (Vancouver Canucks) and Dmitry Shitikov while they were in town for the tournament and I became very good friends with them. I took Russian language courses for 3 years at Ohio University and traveled to Moscow after graduation to practice my language skills and reconnect with friends there. I attended law school at Ohio Northern University and that's where I connected with my company, International Sports Agency (www.isasports.com). After graduation from law school, I signed a contract to run a hockey division for them. After only a year of operation, things are going terrific and we have some big things planned for the future.
How did you meet Andrei? Why did you decide to work side to side with him?
I met Andrei when he was only 14 years old. He was in Chicago with the CSKA Moscow Club for a tournament and was a teammate of some friends of ours. Then, this past season when he wanted some help with his career, he knew I was an agent and contacted me. I started working for him and he apparently was impressed with my work ethic and drive. After a few weeks he officially signed with ISA Hockey.
How is Andrei as a person? How would you describe his personality?
Andrei's a great kid [Scott put a good emphasis over the word "great" - RP.com note]. He works extremely hard on and off the ice and seems to know when the pressure's on - that's always when he really finds his game and steals the spotlight. Away from the rink, Kuchin's a very fun and active guy with a great sense of humor. He's an extremely gifted athlete that seems to pick up any sport he tries very quickly. I consider him a very close friend.
Considering that you know Andrei very well, what happened to him in the latest few years? He was thought to be one of the top contenders for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but then he quite fallen off the map.
While Kuchin has been a top prospect from a young age and was offered a lucrative pro contract early in his career, I think he was rushed into a situation he wasn't ready for. He ended up not getting much playing time in the Russian system after he signed his deal and NHL teams didn't know where he was even playing.
On top of that, the overall number of Russian players drafted by NHL teams has dropped significantly since the previous IIHF Transfer Agreement expired and Russia has refused to sign on to the current Agreement. When Russia was a party to the Transfer Agreement you were seeing 25-30 Russian players being drafted every year. After it expired, that number dropped to around 10. Some teams just don't want to take the chance of drafting a kid who may never come to North America to play.
Also, unfortunately Russian players have to battle the unfair stereotype that players from the country are spoiled and self-centered. False rumors began to spread that Kuch wasn't getting playing time because of attitude problem which didn't help his case. When you add that to the other factors I just mentioned, it's no real surprise why his draft stock fell so rapidly.
I'm just glad to hear so much positive feedback about Kuchin from NHL clubs now. It seems as though he's really changed everyone's opinion of him and I think he's going to be a great asset to whatever NHL club picks him up eventually.
What do you think, what kind of chances does Andrei have for the upcoming draft? Do you know of any concrete interest from NHL teams?
It's hard to tell where Andrey could go in the NHL Draft in a few weeks. This past year Kuchin showed teams what he can do on the ice and we've generated a lot of interest from a number of NHL clubs, but there's always the chance that he could go undrafted again - you never know how these things are going to go. All I do know is that any team that passes him up completely this year is making a big mistake.
What are Andrei's top features on ice?
Andrey's definitely a play maker. His natural ability to skate with and move the puck is unbelievable. I've watched games with scouts who have been in the business for 20+ years and they sometimes don't even see the passing lanes that Kuchin seems to find on the ice. He's a terrific skater, very shifty puck handler, and for a player with such tremendous offensive upside it's surprising how good he is on the defensive side of the puck as well. If I had to give you an NHL player whose game I think Kuchin resembles it'd have to be Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings).
What do you think, where do you see Andrei playing, should he not get a call on the draft day?
If Kuch goes undrafted this year it'd be hard for me to see a situation where he wouldn't be skating somewhere in the OHL next year. He's been getting a ton of interest from teams right now and if an NHL doesn't pick him up I'm going to make sure he's in a position to get him ready for the pro level as quickly as possible. We've already made a loose verbal commitment to the Chicago Steel for the 2010-11 season because they played a huge role in getting Kuch back on the NHL radar and Kuch feels very comfortable skating with them. However, I explained to the coaches there that if he goes undrafted, he just can't afford to stay around for another year.
Do you work with other players?
I do work with a number of other players. Since we just launched our hockey division last year, most of the kids that I work with are more like "advisees" rather than clients. I don't have any representation agreement with them so that if they choose to play in college their NCAA eligibility isn't jeopardized. In these cases I basically just help the family make decision that will put the player in the best position to maximize his potential. However, I do also work for a number of professional athletes. Matt Szypura's one client of mine who played his rookie season with the Dayton Gems of the IHL last year and actually may be heading over to Russia for a pro tryout next month. In addition, I've established some great relationships with a few Russian players who may be looking to come and play hockey in North America this coming season. It's great to be able to help out whenever I can and I really want to continue building my relationship with Russian clubs so that we can be sending players both ways.
How do you like working side to side with Russian guys? Is it hard for you? Russian language surely isn't easy and English isn't much spread there.
So far I've loved working with Russian players and teams. As I mentioned I took Russian language courses while in University and my close relationships with many Russians have helped me maintain my language skills. Kuchin's constantly pushing me to work on my Russian and I think it's great. You're right that Russian is not a very popular language in the U.S., but I think that's a big thing that helps me stand out amongst much of my competition. I can tell that with most Russian people that I've encountered, they truly appreciate the effort to speak their native language instead of just expecting them to speak mine.
Related Player Profiles: . P.Datsyuk A.Kuchin S.Shirokov
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