2021-22 Team: Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
Date of Birth: March 18, 2004
Place of Birth: Omsk, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 187 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
Artyom Barabosha spent the 2021-22 season in the MHL, one of the top junior hockey leagues in Eurasia and a major feeder to the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The 6-foot-2 Russian plays a strong physical game as a stay-at-home defenseman whose style aligns with many successful NHL blueliners during previous eras of the league’s history and in the modern era. After earning the 66th spot on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings, he dropped to 95th overall in the final rankings.
Barabosha scored four goals and added seven assists in 45 games for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva last season. His team dominated regular-season play in the MHL with a league-best 105 points, and they reached the MHL’s final round before ultimately losing to SKA 1946. He also contributed to a winning effort as a gold medalist for Team Russia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August 2021 in Slovakia and Czechia.
His reputation as a big, physical blueliner who doesn’t hesitate to play with an edge will attract NHL teams in Montreal on July 7. He showcased his intensity at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup by burying potential first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky with a punishing hit in the gold medal game. Although the NHL is trending towards a preference for puck-moving defensemen, the allure of a tough hitter like Barabosha will never truly leave the minds of general managers (GMs). The need for defensemen to clear the crease area will always be prevalent in the NHL, and a player like Barabosha is capable of handling the job.
Despite the lack of big-time point production in the MHL, Barabosha did also demonstrate an ability to fire the puck from the point at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. A beautiful goal in Team Russia’s blowout victory over the Swiss turned some heads for scouts who might’ve questioned his offensive value based on his statistics.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Political uncertainty will factor into the fate of young hockey players at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Complicated situations are arising based on the desire of players to relocate to North America to play professionally, and the uncontrollable variable will force NHL teams to hesitate to select Russians. These larger political issues might push the most talented players to later rounds of the draft, where teams could potentially take a chance with a low-risk, late-round pick and select a talented player with no guarantee he’ll ever come to North America.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Artyom Barabosha- NHL Draft Projection
Barabosha isn’t the type of defenseman who will light up the score sheet or put together a highlight reel of excellent offensive plays from the back end. However, he plays the game with a lot of intensity in the style that NHL GMs generally appreciate. The political circumstances will not play in his favor in the upcoming draft. While some projections have ranked him as high as the third round, a fourth- or fifth-round selection is probably more likely, especially for a defenseman with work left to do as a puck-mover.
“Barabosha is an old school stay-at-home defenseman that plays with an edge. His size and strength are always evident despite playing in a league with much older competition. He uses this to his advantage by easily knocking the opposition off the puck and clearing the crease.” –Josh Thomas, FC Hockey (from “Artyom Barabosha,” NHL Entry Draft, 1/4/22)
“Excellent defensive style defender. Shows solid play in his own zone and when moving from offense to defense. Excellent at avoiding forechecking. Blocks a lot of shots per game. A bit passive, often stands in one place and waits. Does not always take the right position. Lacks agility. He doesn’t look like an NHL defenseman at this point because of his lack of goal scoring play. He needs to work as offensive player more in the next season.” –Hockey Hall Scouting
- Strong defender in own zone
- Physical play, intensity
- Glimpses of an ability to shoot from the point
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Offensive production
- Skating- agility
- Ability to move the puck in transition
Physical, right-shot defensemen have tremendous value on NHL rosters. Although Barabosha is far from a polished product, he will garner the attention of some organizations because of his style of play. Rasmus Ristolainen has played nine NHL seasons in relatively significant roles despite flaws in his game because of the need for right-handed bruisers. Barabosha could carve out a career in the same type of role.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk 3/5, Reward 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 5/10, Defense 9/10
Barabosha has played on winning teams already at the young age of 18. He won the gold medal with Team Russia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August 2021, and he helped Krasnaya Armiya Moskva to a runner-up finish in the MHL last season.
Artyom Barabosha Statistics
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.