Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Pirates Life For Former AHL Player

I haven't had a lot of updates to send out for my favorite Danish Metal Ligaen team up to this point. The Aalborg Pirates are currently playing preseason games as they look to defend their regular-season crown from last year while taking a prolonged run at the Metal Ligaen championship. The eleven-team league features the best young Danish players while teams accentuate those players with foreign-born players who generally play a major role on each team. Last year, there were a pile of players who had ties to Winnipeg that head coach Brandon Reid brought aboard, but it seems he has expanded his search this season. Today, the Aalborg Pirates may have gotten a little stronger thanks to the addition of a former AHL and KHL player whose career really needs a reboot!

Kirill Kabonov, a third-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2010, apparently has agreed to join the Danish club after discovering that his residence permit prevented him from entering Sweden and joining IK Oskarshamn. A report from Hockey Magasinet's Thomas Guldberg Nielsen translates as follows through Google Translate:
Russian Kirill Kabanov can be very close to playing in Aalborg Pirates this season.

It was otherwise the Swedish club IK Oskarshamn, who long seemed to become the Russians new club, but problems with his residence permit prevent him from entering Sweden, so that's why he has now threw his love on Denmark and Aalborg Pirates, tells the Swedish internet guru mr. madhawk

He will be following Mr. madhawk presented in Aalborg as soon as possible, where he is expected to be a great success after 2 seasons who were bothered by injury, he will now start his career in a smaller league where Oskarshamn was perfect, but it did not matter, maybe great luck for Aalborg Pirates.

Aalborg Pirates CEO Thomas Bjuring will not confirm the rumors.

"It would be great and that sounds very exciting. But it is unlikely to get a player of the caliber to Aalborg. In addition, I have no comments, says Thomas Bjuring to Nordjyske.dk
Well, folks, I went to find confirmation if Mr. Bjuring wouldn't confirm, and the rumours are true. Kirill Kabonov, if everything goes as planned, will be playing for the Aalborg Pirates this season once he gets his papers in order!

Kabanov had a rather non-descript time in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads where he scored just ten goals and 13 assists in 24 games, but his move to the Lewiston MAINEiacs saw Kabanov put up 11 goals and 17 assists in 37 games in 2010-11. The following season saw him moved to the Shawinigan Cataractes where Kabanov score 21 goals and add 34 helpers in 50 games! While he may have started slow, his last season in the QMJHL gave the Islanders some hope that he could continue to develop into a solid, scoring left-winger.

He was used sparingly in Bridgeport by the Islanders due to injuries and poor play before being loaned to MODO in the Swedish Elite League after being demoted to the ECHL. After failing to find his scoring touch there, he jumped to Skelleftea the following season where he notched 11 goals and 18 assists in 43 games. Following his time in Skelleftea in 2014-15, he saw very little ice time in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa and Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk over two seasons. Needless to say, there hasn't been much scoring for Kabanov since he left Quebec.

There are some issues that dog Kabanov as well. In 2010, he was removed from the Russian U18 team after his coach said, "I removed him from the team because we thought [he] would help us, but he brought only confusion to the team. Kabanov came and thought 'Here I am, a star from Canada, who will save all.' But it's the team that wins rather than an individual player."

Other points of contention during his junior days were his father's constant interfering with his son's agents. JP Barry, a well-known scout in NHL circles, walked away from Kabanov in 2010 while Ilya Moliver, another scout, was quoted as saying that Kabanov's father was the player's "main problem". The Islanders terminated his contract in 2014, making him a free agent, and he appeared on a professional tryout with the New York Rangers in 2015, but was unable to make the team's roster as the Rangers released him from that contract.

Hockeyfutures.com said the following about Kabanov,
A speedy winger who plays the game with boatloads of energy and has the hands to make the puck dance, Kabanov's game still needs plenty of work, especially in adding strength to match his enthusiasm on the ice as well as improving his play without the puck.
... and...
His combination of speed, skill and offensive creativity is well-suited for hockey in Europe.
In knowing how Brandon Reid wants to have the Pirates play, speed and energy will be appreciated, but Kabanov's play away from the puck will come under scrutiny if he doesn't fill his lane in the defensive zone. Reid won't tolerate anyone who misses his defensive check, so Kabanov will need to skate hard in both directions if he hopes to play a lot for the Pirates.

Kabanov's career is far from over, but he'll have to work hard to get it back to where it was when he was drafted. In knowing coach Reid, he'll give Kabanov chances to succeed, but only if he puts in the necessary effort to earn those chances. If Kabanov is serious about his hockey career, those are the types of opportunities he should be seeking. We'll see how this plays out as the season progresses for the Aalborg Pirates!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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