At the back end of their 2018 draft class the Colorado Avalanche selected their second goalie and third Russian in Shamil Shmakov at 202nd overall in the seventh round. Shmakov joins a growing stable of European goaltenders in the organization.
Born on July 27, 1999 in Moskva, Russia Shmakov was in his second season of draft eligibility and despite a strong season in the MHL (Russia juniors) was not enough to push Shmakov onto the draft radar outside of a few independent scouts. The 2017-18 season saw Shmakov take over the starting position for Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk in which he played in 51 games and posted a 2.03 GAA and .932 save percentage, which was good for fourth place in the low scoring MHL. The previous year in 2016-17 Shmakov only saw limited action with 15 games played but good numbers at a 2.74 GAA and .917 save percentage. He is now primed as the third goalie, though with some strong competition in front of him in the KHL’s HC Sibirskie Novosibirsk stytem.
Shmakov is the greatest unknown among this draft class but what immediately stands out about him is his size. A towering 6’6 and 194 lbs, Shmakov takes up a lot of space and uses this to his advantage when he’s in the crease. He hasn’t quite grown into his size and it also takes him a bit of time to go down into the butterfly position or to go from post to post. He likes to play active at the top of or outside the crease and has a good battle mentality. Shmakov’s wilder aggressive and less controlled style works for him at the junior level but will need to get more refined and technical as he moves forward in his career.
There is a possibility Shamkov could find himself in consideration for team Russia at the World Junior Championship this winter. Despite not participating on any national teams in the past, he was invited to the Black Sea Cup U-20 exhibition tournament in May and saw action against Denmark in one of the contests. Also an invitation to the Canada-Russia series in November is a possibility. This is his last year of World Junior eligibility as a 1999 born player.
The path for Shmakov to get to the NHL is a long one but the Avalanche have plenty of time and as a player in the KHL system hold his rights indefinitely. Shmakov fits the current typical Avalanche mold of a goaltender with large size who does happen to hold a starting job but one they can let develop for years in Europe before deciding to sign to a NHL contract. The hope is he will move through the KHL system and eventually show enough promise and development to consider taking the next step in North America. Shmakov has the size and raw talent so it’s worth keeping a long eye on his progress.
A shot by shot shutout performance by Shmakov courtesy of Rudo3