By Ian Oland
The Washington Capitals selected Russian forward, Ivan Miroshnichenko, with the 20th overall pick on Thursday.
ESPN called the pick a steal and that Miroshnichenko might be the most talented player in this year’s draft class.
Miroshnichenko fell down the draft board after having his 2021-22 season ended in March due to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Being Russian added more uncertainty to Miroshnichenko’s selection as a new iron curtain could be developing in the country due to Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine.
Miroshnichenko, however, was all smiles while conducting his first interview as a Capital. The 18-year-old winger exclusively speaks Russian and needed a translator to speak to the press at Bell Centre. But there was one English word he most definitely knew.
Ivan Miroshnichenko talks with the media through a translator after being selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2022 #NHLDraft in Montreal.#CapsDraft pic.twitter.com/BFXuFfr1gP
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 8, 2022
When asked how he was feeling about being picked about the Capitals, Miroshnichenko responded “super!” and began cackling in a way reminiscent of Evgeny Kuznetsov.
I already like him.
Ivan coyly added that he had a feeling the Capitals would select him.
Here’s the rest of Ivan’s first interview as a Capital transcribed.
The Capitals have had a long history of success with Russian players. How excited are you to play for them?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: It’s just a tremendous feeling. Such a great organization. They’re so many great Russian players in this organization. To join them, it’s a tremendous honor.
Considering your season was ended early due to cancer, are you relieved that this day has come and you were picked in the first round?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: The season went very well for me until I got sick. I was preparing for [the draft] the entire season. I played very well until I got sick, but obviously really happy (I was picked by them).
Was there any indication the Capitals were interested in you and that you would be picked at number 20?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I had a feeling. [smiling]
How tough have the last few months been?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: The last few months have been great. Obviously, before then, it was some challenging times. When I was in Russia, it was super.
Are you staying in North America for here on out?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: The plan is for me to stay here for a little bit with Development Camp coming up here. Then I will fly over and rejoin my team in Omsk.
What did it mean to play against players in the Russian AHL (VHL)?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: Different level. At the same time, there was so much growth that needs to happen for my game but definitely helped me last season.
What do you feel like you need to work on currently?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I have everything to work on, but the coaches will help me out.
When do you think you’ll get back on the ice?
Ivan Miroshnichenko: I’m always trying to get back on the ice. I’ve been on the ice about 10 times now (since the diagnosis) so I’m slowly getting back.
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