“Rude and clumsy.” The Russian giant made his NHL debut – and immediately fought!

Heaviest player in Columbus history

Dmitry Voronkov – perhaps the most notable player to leave Russia for the NHL this season.

We know Dima from the World Youth Championship in Ostrava in 2020, where he scored 7 (3+4) points in seven matches. Last season, Voronkov played in the Gagarin Cup final, collecting 12 (8+4) points in 24 matches. He had equally significant success in the 2021 KHL playoffs, when Voronkov scored six goals and provided four assists (10 points) in 15 games. But he stood out above all for the fact that he terrified the opposing defense. Tall (195cm), powerful, foul-prone and ready to take his gloves off. Voronkov considered the KHL an example of a powerful forward who always knows how to get under the skin.

Leaving for the NHL, Dmitry Voronkov gained even more muscle mass, his weight was 109 kg. In Columbus, they were left speechless: “He’s the heaviest player to ever step on the ice in a Blue Jackets uniform. » Currently, there are only two heavier players in the NHL: Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman (111 kg) and Seattle defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (116 kg). But both are about two meters tall.

Voronkov was sent to the AHL to get in shape. “He’s not a player, but a real monster.” And the name of the club was appropriate: “Cleveland Monsters.” There Dmitry played four matches, gave one assist and scored in one fight.

And when Patrik Laine suffered a head injury in Columbus after being hit by a nasty power shot, they decided to call Voronkov. His debut took place in Montreal.

Landmark: Andrei Nazarov

Let’s say right away: if in Ak Bars Voronkov played in the first two lines and could play with elite partners like Alexander Radulov and Ivan Safonov, then in Columbus there is no trace of this.

Dmitry was assigned to the fourth line with Sean Kuraly and Matthew Olivier. In other words, in the NHL, he is not seen as a power forward who scores half a point per game, but as a brute force who gives toughness to the team.

In fact, that’s what The Athletic columnist Aaron Porcline wrote in a report on Voronkov’s debut: “Voronkov, signed by Columbus after four seasons in the Russian KHL, is the physical specimen (6-foot 5 inches, 240 pounds) of a hockey player. playing in a “rough and clumsy” style. He is the heaviest forward to ever grace the Blue Jackets field, and he immediately made his presence felt…”

Yes, already in the second shift Voronkov attacked Montreal defender Arber Dzhekaj from behind, pushing him into the boards and provoking a fight with this strong guy. In the second period, Voronkov used an illegal power move, hitting Jordan Harris in the head. In total, in his first NHL game, he accumulated 9 penalty minutes.

It immediately became interesting whether Voronkov could set some kind of championship record. What to focus on? Well, here it is: In his first NHL season, rookie Russian defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov racked up 172 penalty minutes. In general, Andrei Nazarov received 229 penalty minutes in the 2000/01 season, while playing for Boston and Anaheim.

By the way, Nazarov left Dynamo Moscow as a powerful forward, scoring a lot of points. But in the NHL, they made him a complete badass. Equally “rude and clumsy”.

Columbus coach: “I didn’t like his skating today”

However, in the first game, Voronkov scored another productive point, participating in the goal combination: he shot the puck to the left side, and Emil Bemström converted the majority.

The very fact that Voronkov was mostly released is remarkable. Although he only spent 8.21 minutes on the ice. But do we have to start somewhere?

“It will take him some time to get used to the speed of this league. But he will bring something special,” said Columbus head coach Pascal Vincent. — Of course, Voronkov can exert physical influence on his opponent. He walks fearlessly towards the door. And he has very good hands for a big man.

I didn’t like his skating today. But he will feel more and more comfortable. I liked his performance.”

Let’s say it right away: few people will like Voronkov in the NHL. But he was not very loved in the KHL either, except for Ak Bars fans.

But it is a fact that he will be a notable figure in the league.

Source : MatchTV

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