Best goalkeeper – a Czech Simon Hrubec, 30 years old, Avangard
The athlete won 2 out of 3 January games. Eighty-three shots were made at the goal of the hockey player, so the average for the match is 28. Of all the throws, 95% were saved. On average, the goalkeeper missed 1.35 goals per hour of the game. In the match against Dynamo, the athlete had a fifth shutout this season. It is worth noting that Simon Hrubec was titled the best goalkeeper last November.
The athlete debuted in the Extraliga for Ceske Budejovice in 2009-2010. In 2012-2013, the hockey player played for Oceláři Třinec. There he won silver at the Czech Republic Championship 2 times. In 2019, he won the championship in his home country and was also recognized as the most valuable player of the playoffs.
The athlete consistently plays for the Czech national team at Euro Hockey Tour. He participated in the 2019 World Championship, defending the gate of the Czech team in the game against the Russian national team for third place. On 14.06.2019, he signed a one-year contract with Kunlun Red Star (China). On 22.11.2019, he had his first shutout in the league, saving 29 goals in a match against Neftekhimik.
On 06.11.2020, the athlete joined the Avangard (Omsk). He became the main goalkeeper and then the main hero of the playoffs, where Avangard won the Gagarin Cup for the 1st time. At the end of spring 2021, the player signed a new contract with the team for 24 months.
Best defender – a Russian Ilya Khokhlov, 27 years old, Severstal
The hockey player got into the list of top KHL players for the 1st time in his career. He scored 6 points in 5 games throughout January. The athlete ended each game with a positive plus-minus statistic, and his total value is +7. In addition, Khokhlov bodychecked six times and stopped nine shots. In the past, the team’s defenders have been recognized as the best according to the monthly statistics.
The best forward – a Russian Nikita Guslistov, 19 years old, Severstal
The hockey player made it to this KHL list for the first time. He scored 5 points in 4 games in January and earned a plus-minus indicator of plus 5. Not a single game for him ended with a negative number in this statistics. In the match against Kunlun Red Star, the athlete scored a brace, and in the game against Vityaz scored the final goal. If we talk about the other strikers of the team, Vadim Shipachyov was recognized as the best in the fall of 2011.
The athlete was trained at the Cherepovets hockey school. He performed in regional competitions of all stages while playing for the Severstal youth team. In 2018-2019, the hockey player was a player of the Metallurg youth club. The team was founded in Vologda to compete in the NJHL. This helped Guslistov to debut professionally. In the summer season of 2019, the hockey player signed a bilateral contract with Severstal Cherepovets. This allowed him to play both in the KHL and the youth Almaz.
In the summer season of 2020, the hockey player started training with the Severstal team, participating in pre-season competitions. On 01.11.2020, Guslistov made his debut in the KHL in a game against Jokerit (Finland). On 11.12.2020, the hockey player scored his 1st goal in the KHL against Spartak (Moscow). From that moment on, he began to earn his own points in the KHL.
On 21.01.2021, Guslistov scored three goals and one assist in the game against Avtomobilist (Yekaterinburg). The hat-trick allowed him to become the youngest Russian player who scored three goals in one game. The previous record was set by Maxim Kitsyn, who scored a hat-trick in 2010. On 27.01.2021, Severstal’s game against St. Petersburg SKA took place in St. Petersburg. In this match, the Cherepovets reserve team took over, and Guslistov was appointed captain. Thus, the athlete became the youngest captain in the KHL and broke the record of Kamil Fazylzyanov, who played for Neftekhimik.
The best rookie – a Russian Arseni Gritsyuk, 20 years old, Avangard
This is the 3rd time Arseni Gritsyuk has been recognized as the best rookie of the month. He scored 3 points in 3 games in January. The hockey player did not have a single game with a minus value of the plus-minus stat and increased this indicator to plus 2. This is the 1st hockey player who was recognized as the best rookie of the month during the regularly held championship. The title “rookie of the month” can be awarded to those born after 2000 who played less than 20 matches in the KHL.
Gritsyuk is thought of as an athlete of the modern generation. The hockey player puts his own achievements aside and prefers to analyze the team’s actions as a whole and look at the final result. This approach works well since Gritsyuk is regularly recognized as the best player in various ratings.
At the age of 12, Arseny moved to Omsk, where he began playing for Avangard and participating in various competitions. In 2017-2018, he was awarded the title of the best scorer in the Russian competition and invited to the youth national team.
In 2018, Gritsyuk received a bronze medal in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In addition, he received the Kiselyov award. In the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the New Jersey Devils selected the athlete at the 5th stage.
In 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, Gritsyuk played for the junior Avangard in Omsk. He played 101 games, scored 45 times, gave 46 passes. The hockey player accumulated 48 penalty minutes and a plus-minus indicator plus 51. In addition, Gritsyuk played in the Supreme Hockey League for Izhstal (Izhevsk) twice.
In 2020-2021, the athlete played for the KHL for the first time participated in the Puchkov tournament.
The athlete has played for Metallurg (Novokuznetsk) in the Supreme Hockey League since autumn 2020. He also played in the Russian national team and received the Karjala Cup.
At the World Junior Ice Hockey, he played six matches, earned 4 points, scored a goal in the game against Austria, and was injured in the semifinal game against Canada. As a result, the athlete could not take part in the competition for 3rd place. Returning to his native country, Gritsyuk said that he did not understand the game style demonstrated by Czech and German athletes. The Czech Republic and Germany “parked the bus,” waiting for the moment for a counterattack.
After that, Gritsyuk played in the KHL, where he scored the 1st goal in a game against Salavat Yulaev. Bob Hartley, who coached Avangard, analyzed Gritsyuk’s actions and concluded that the latter has a talent for creating offensive opportunities. Soon it was reported that Gritsyuk extended his contract with the club for another 24 months.
After his debut performance in the league, the athlete won the Gagarin Cup. In his interview, the hockey player said it was an absolute achievement. He also said that his opponents were quite strong. Gritsyuk wasn’t given much playing time, so he expressed a desire to get the prize again, playing as part of the main squad. At that time, Gritsyuk did not have any plans to move to the United States; he dreamed of becoming one of the best strikers of Avangard.
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