(Photo credit: Amy Irvin, 38 Photography)
With 24 games played, Evgeny Medvedev has hit a sample where we can start drawing some conclusions about his play. While his early season was maligned with some defensive zone issues and an injury situation, he’s come along quite well in his first season in North America.
One of the first things that jumps out is that Medvedev has been absolutely dominant in the 28 minutes he’s played with Shayne Gostisbehere. The two players, again in a limited sample, seem to have great chemistry with each other. With Mark Streit soon returning from injury, it’s very possible that Ghost is Medvedev’s new partner. For all the good work he’s done with Luke Schenn, being paired with Radko Gudas doesn’t really work for Medvedev, but that’s okay given how well Gudas and Del Zotto have been together.
Via Behind the Net
One area of concern is Medvedev’s penalty differential. He’s taken far more than he’s drawn which could be related to his issues adjusting to the North American game. On the plus side, his positive Corsi Rel shows that he’s been driving play forward when on the ice.
At age 33, Medvedev is not a long term solution. The Flyers could very well build him up and try to move him at the trade deadline, or bring him back for a second year over the offseason. That said, he certainly has a place on this blue line, whether he plays with Luke Schenn or Shayne Gostisbehere.
For this season, he’s been a welcome improvement over Nick Grossmann. He serves a purpose, and if the Flyers find a way to sneak into the playoffs, will likely be asked to log big minutes come April. One side thing to note is that the KHL season is shorter than the NHL season, and therefore, it’s possible that Medvedev might show some fatigue come trade deadline time. In some ways, because of this, using a rotation on defense with him and Nick Schultz might actually benefit both players.
Of course, should the Flyers fall out of contention, Medvedev might be a reasonably warm commodity at the trade deadline.