In his 31 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman gives an update on the ongoing Igor Ozhiganov story:
Just wanted to tie a final bow on something that’s been in this blog a couple of times. Other NHL teams have been told Toronto has a verbal commitment from Russian defenceman Igor Ozhighanov. He can sign after April 30.
Ozhiganov is a right-shooting, 25-year-old defenceman currently with CSKA Moscow. He’s reasonably big, can be physical (sometimes to a fault), and has a booming shot. On the other hand, he hasn’t always gotten a regular shift; he’s cropped up in our Euro report on occasion lately, and he hasn’t exactly dazzled Ozhiganov isn’t poised to be an addition on the level of Nikita Zaitsev, and at his age, we probably have to keep any expectations of growth modest.
Still, the Leafs have seen something they’ve liked, and Toronto is clearly determined to fully explore every avenue for improving their team. If Ozhiganov has the tools to make the jump to the NHL—and projecting the KHL > NHL transition is by no means an exact science—he could be a valuable addition.
Quick report on Igor Ozhiganov from a scout: Moves well for ~6'2/210 lbs., and has a big shot. Some questions about his hockey sense.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) August 23, 2017
HE CAN PLAY A HEAVY GAME
And if you're not paying attention along the boards, Ozhiganov will make you suffer the consequences: pic.twitter.com/sZSC3C1QCW
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) August 23, 2017
His size and strength will be immediately noticeable, but he comes with some offensive upside, too (don’t be scared off by his 22-point total last season). We’ll talk specifically about his shot a little later in this piece, but check out the hands on this goal.
HE COMES WITH A BIG SHOT