Russia Stock Watch: Ivan Demidov and Ivan Ryabkin proving themselves as Russia's best for consecutive drafts
As we round into the home stretch in Russia's main hockey leagues, the two top talents in the region for the 2024 and 2025 NHL Drafts have consolidated their hold on the throne for MHL primacy.
There isn't a single player out there who's outperformed Ivan Demidov and Ivan Ryabkin, respectively, in the past month. And they lead the way in the latest Russia Stock Watch, an article they'll share with another handful of not-yet-drafted players from their corner of the hockey world.
Stock Rising 📈
Ivan Ryabkin, C, MHK Dynamo Moskva (2025 NHL Draft)
Ivan Ryabkin's 18 points in 10 contests were good enough to lead all 2025 NHL Draft-eligible skaters in the MHL through January. The early favourite for the top spot out of Russia in next year’s draft has had no issues finding his game at the junior level.
Ryabkin’s playmaking and hockey sense stand out from his peers. His 13 assists last month led the league and he’s the fourth most productive player in the MHL since the start of December. It’s clear that he's more comfortable as a distributor than a finisher, but he has a dangerous shot that's allowed him to find twine eight times this season.
His 43 points rank eighth all-time among draft-minus-one skaters in Russia’s top junior league and put him on pace to move up to the No. 2 spot by season’s end
Ivan Demidov, RW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (2024 NHL Draft)
My understanding is that 21 points in only 7 games is pretty good. Granted, Ivan Demidov didn't face the stiffest competition in that stretch, but you can only play the team in front of you, and our No. 2-ranked prospect in this year's draft has crushed it.
Since returning from injury, he’s been hovering around the two-points-per-game mark and is seventh in total offence in the MHL this season while playing nearly 20 games less than every player in front of him.
He’s staking his claim to challenge for the top spot in the 2024 NHL Draft with his elite puck skills, creativity, and playmaking, but we just have to wonder what he would look like if he was playing professional hockey right now.
Alexander Siryatsky, D, Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk (2024 NHL Draft)
Alexander Siryatsky started off January logging 20 minutes a game in the MHL before making a surprise move up to Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL, where he actually got to take the ice and take some regular shifts.
His two appearances were short (6:12 and 5:55), but he made the most of them. Siryatsky's defensive instincts stood out immediately, aggressively closing gaps, making quick reads, and providing plenty of defensive stops in his limited minutes. He found his rhythm through deceptive retrievals and patient plays on the puck. Overall, he didn’t look like a player who had never laced up for a game of men’s hockey before.
There’s limitations to his game, but Siryatsky has made a case to perhaps end up a late round pick in this year’s draft.
Stock Steady ↔️
Anton Silayev, D, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod (2024 NHL Draft)
Anton Silayev may finish the year as the second-overall pick in the draft, but there's been a distinct and, at times, difficult-to-ignore lack of improvement in his game over the course of the season.
The size and skating combo are formidable, but Silayev has struggled to put the tools together to look like the dominant player that NHL scouts one day expect him to develop into. His January was one to forget, in which he failed to register a single point as his ice time dropped.
Stock Falling 📉
Matvei Babenko, LW, Toros Neftekamsk (2024 NHL Draft)
Matvei Babenko really started to show off after his quiet start to the season, moving up to the VHL roster in early December and grabbing three goals in his first 18 games. He just hasn’t done enough in his time to see his value rise as a draft eligible player.
He’s a big, goalscoring winger with one of the best shots out of Russia in this year’s class. The rest of his game remains very vanilla. He’s shown some impressive handling ability but hasn’t displayed a knack for picking his spots and often forces moves to try to set up chances for himself. The sense trails behind the rest of his toolset, failing to drive play, or make much of an impact at all besides his one-touch shooting.
He looked like a potential second-round pick, but hope is dwindling on that front.