Nikita Zagryadskiy’s career with the Moose Jaw Warriors will top out at three games.
Monday the Warriors decided they weren’t going to be able to give the 17-year-old Russian enough ice time to allow him to develop and opted to release him.
“The scouting report on him was that he was a big guy who was very raw and all those things were correct,” said Warriors general manager Alan Millar. “With our current group it was a challenge to get him in the lineup. He’s a good kid, but I think he’s a little ways away from playing at this level on a regular basis.”
Zagryadskiy was scratched for the first 18 games of the season. He got into a fight in the first period of his debut, but otherwise didn’t distinguish himself in his three games. With 16-year-old Colton McCarthy impressing in a four-game call-up and fellow rookie Miles Warkentine returning from injury, the Warriors felt they had some better, younger options up front.
“From our end, we have enough young guys in our lineup who we felt were ahead of him,” said Millar. “We feel we probably have a few guys who aren’t here, like Colton McCarthy, that a year from now are ahead of him as well. We felt it was best to let the young man have an opportunity somewhere else.”
Zagryadskiy is going to meet his agent in Calgary and would like to stay and develop in North America. He is looking at some other junior leagues where he could possibly play on this side of the ocean.
The Warriors selected Zagryadskiy 72nd overall in the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft. The Warriors have their first round import draft pick still on their list: 17-year-old German left winger Frederik Tiffels. He has 12 assists in 17 games this season in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
“We continue to work on ... the interest level of Frederik Tiffels joining us. I’m going to be meeting him this week and I’m seeing him play twice in Muskegon. We continue to work on that front,” said Millar.