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Top 25 Under 25: Marat Khusnutdinov earns No. 7 spot

The 20-year-old Russian jumps up two places from his previous ranking.

SKA Hockey Club player, Marat Khusnutdinov (No.22) seen in... Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

There are so many underrated prospects around the NHL. Every system seems to have one or two. The Minnesota Wild are no exception. Despite Marat Khusnutdinov coming in seventh overall in our Top 25 Under 25 rankings this year, it doesn’t feel as if he gets the recognition around the league that he deserves. The kind of production he has had with all kinds of different players, from those his own age to men in the KHL, is extremely impressive. His ceiling may not be incredibly high, but there is reason to believe he can be a legitimate top-six player in the NHL.

Khusnutdinov was selected in the second round 37th overall thanks to a pick acquired in the trading of forward Luke Kunin to the Nashville Predators. And considering his production and skill set, he may be one of the biggest steals out of the stacked 2020 draft.

The Stats

During the 2021-22 KHL season, Khusnutdinov posted 12 points in 32 games as a 19-year-old, which is a feat many would consider impressive. He also posted two assists in three games before the World Junior Championships got shut down and Russia was eventually taken out because of geopolitical issues revolving around the war in Ukraine.

Roll the Tape

Khusnutdinov is a prospect that can bring it all. The 20-year-old Russian still has things to work on, but as far as players that you can trust, he is one that paves the way. In the clip below, he gets right to the net and cleans up a rebound for his first goal of the KHL regular season.

There aren’t many clips out there to show his defensive prowess or even the way he moves the puck up the ice, but as time moves on and he continues to make noise in the Russian hockey scene, there will be plenty.

The Future

As pointed out in the introduction of this article, I think there is a legitimate reason to believe Khusnutdinov will become a force to be reckoned with at the NHL level. His tenacity and playmaking alone make him a threat whenever he’s on the ice. Include the fact that he’s a strong skater with creativity and a defensively responsible playstyle, he is going to be a strong contributor to the future of the Wild as soon as he comes over from Russia.

Khusnutdinov is an excellent all-around player with a knack for getting to the net, demanding the puck, and driving play forward. He’s also not afraid to get involved physically along the boards and win loose puck battles. It’s only a matter of time before he comes over and proves his worth, whether it’s with the big club immediately or he gets some seasoning with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. He’s one of the more underrated prospects in the NHL, but he’s someone that Wild fans should be on the lookout for consistently.

Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25

25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesternenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D
7. Marat Khusnutdinov, C/LW