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Penguins draft forward Mikhail Ilyin in fifth round

The Pens make another pick, this time at No. 142 of the 2023 NHL draft

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

After adding a forward in the first round, and a defender in the third round, the Pittsburgh Penguins were back in the fifth round (pick No. 142 overall) for their third selection in 2023 NHL entry draft.

This time the Pens went for a Russian forward, Mikhail Ilyin. The 6’0”, 181 pound winger plays for the Severstal Cherepovets and worked his way up to playing some games in the KHL as an 18-year old.

Here is his Elite Prospects profile:

With Russia ineligible to play in international tournaments, the scouting world doesn’t have a deep file or preview of Ilyin, but the Pens obviously favored his future enough to invest a draft pick in.

Low production for young players in the KHL is not new or anything to read into, typically they play very, very few minutes per game in sheltered role. Ilyin showcased a ton of playmaking with his assist numbers in the MHL, a minor feeding league into the top-ranked KHL.

This pick fits in with the past, Kyle Dubas has been active at taking Russian players in the past, and this pick fits that. The Pens also selected goalie Sergei Murashov in the fourth round of 2022 and forward Kirill Tankov in the seventh round in 2021. Prior to that, it had been decades since the Pens drafted a Russian-trained player, but they have gone back recently with some regularity.