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Pens might want to kick tires of Russian free agent defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich

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Scouting szn

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 16 Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Summer means scouting and possibilities. One area the Penguins could use some help on is defense, especially adding depth players. Pittsburgh probably doesn’t even have a true #7 or #8 option in their organization right now, and #5 is a restricted free agent in Jamie Oleksiak and #6 is Chad Ruhwedel.

One name coming up is that of Russian defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich. Said Elliotte Friedman recently, “several [NHL] clubs continue to chase Bogdan Kiselevich. He’s 28.”

Kiselevich has spent the past few years on CSKA Moscow, regarded as the finest club in the KHL. He’s played 393 career KHL games with 23 goals and 100 assists (and plus/minus of +52, for what it’s worth). Elite Prospects has him as a sturdy 6’0 and 207 pounds as a left handed defenseman.

Kiselevich was a part of Russia err Olympic Athletes from Russia’s gold medal this past February and has been a part of Russia’s current World Championship teams and represented his country several teams. As a CSKA player, he’s definitely in good political hands to be favored for spots like that.

Said prohockeyrumors (which knows a bit about Russian players) of Kiselevich in 2017:

Kiselevich has developed into an excellent two-way defender in recent years. Born in Cherepovets, roughly eight hours north of Moscow, Kiselevich was developed by his hometown team before being poached by the bigger CSKA club. He’s now one of their most important defensemen, skating almost 22 minutes a night for them in the [2017] playoffs.

And recently The Athletic ranked Kiselevich as the 20th best free agent prospect, giving this report:

It’s not an absolute certainty that Kiselevich comes over from Russia, and he currently has two KHL offers along with the interest he’s drawing from NHL teams. “We’re looking for the right opportunity,” his agent Dan Milstein told The Athletic. “We’re interviewing teams and teams are interviewing us. It’s about the right fit.” One talent evaluator said he projected Kiselevich as a third-pairing player who could help on the penalty kill. “He competes, is smart and has a decent level of skill,” he said.

It’s also been sighted that Kiselevich leads his team in blocked shots. With a stocky frame and all he sort of sounds like a Russian Ian Cole type of player as a 3rd pair guy, good on the PK.

The veteran European market can be hit or miss, but often times it is big misses. The Pens tried to sign Artemi Panarin in 2015, but he spurned them for Chicago. Pittsburgh’s second choice was Sergei Plotnikov who was not a very good fit for the NHL and washed out quickly. Similarly, Pens fans have had high hopes of the Janne Pesonen’s of the world to be impact players this side of the Atlantic and it didn’t pan out.

However, a team like the Pens who doesn’t have much depth or talent internally needs to scan the globe for possibilities. Give Kiselevich an AHL out clause to allow him to terminate his contract and return to Russia if the Pens don’t want him in the NHL and it would seem like a pretty low-risk signing. Getting Kiselevich isn’t going to get the Pens an NHL all-star or anything, but his name will be an interesting one to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.