Sophomore Slump: Alexei Cherepanov (NYR)
Cherepanov has recovered well from the concussion he suffered during the Super Series against U20 Team Canada, but he has been slow in following up his stellar rookie season. That is not to say that Cherepanov has struggled, but he definitely has not met the high expectations. Partially there is the whole team to blame, since Avangard has struggled mightily early in the season. Fortunately, the club has since recovered and Cherepanov's play has improved. The issue he has battled throughout the season is consistency, as he would follow up an impressive shift with a very quiet one of floating around. Additionally, the young forward has at times been known for his defensive lapses and his lack of determination in his own zone. Still, while it's tough to call this season a smashing success for the young forward, he continues to prove that he belongs as a top player in the Super League. He has immense skill, solid size and sees the ice very well. However, Cherepanov will have a lot to prove, however, at the U20 World Junior Championships.
...its always tough for a young player with high expectations to follow-up a great year, especially early in the season. Sounds like he's righted the ship a bit recently which is a great sign.
...from what I've read it looks like the sky is the limit for this kid, however, it is a bit concerning to hear about his defensive lapses and lack of determination. Did anyone say Kovalev?
...also a bit worried about the concussion. You never like to hear about a concussion early on because it seems like once a player suffers one they haunt them throughout their careers. Just ask Lindros and Richter.