Minor League Sports

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders tender promising Russian winger Andrei Bakanov

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders tender Andrei Bakanov (Photo courtesy of Hickling Images)
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders tender Andrei Bakanov (Photo courtesy of Hickling Images)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The last pre-draft tender from Russia worked out well for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Will history repeat itself?

The United States Hockey League club announced Thursday that 15-year-old forward Andrei Bakanov has signed a tender for the 2018-19 season. He will count as C.R.’s first-round draft pick in the upcoming USHL Draft, Phase I.

Bakanov is a 6-foot-2, 192-pounder who played for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies program in Michigan this past season, piling up 57 goals and 55 assists in 77 games. He recently committed to play college hockey at Michigan and is projected as a possible first-round pick in the 2020 National Hockey League Draft.

The RoughRiders brought in Russian defenseman Ivan Provorov via tender for the 2013-14 season. He went on to become a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers (seventh overall) and scored 17 goals this past season.

“We are very excited to welcome Andrei to the RoughRider family,” RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson said. “He has a nice blend of skill, size and character, and we look forward to helping him develop as a hockey player and as a person. His strong work ethic will enable Andrei to develop into an excellent hockey player.”

Bakarov visited Cedar Rapids last weekend with his mother, Irina, which sold him on the program.

“Cedar Rapids has a great history of producing tremendous players,” he said. “The plan that Coach Carlson provided my family and me, not only for on ice development, but also developing as a student and person far exceeded our expectations.

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“I was able to see a game on my visit, and the support of the fans for the team really excited me. Overall, I felt an immediate connection to the team and the city, and was honored when offered a tender to play there for the next couple of seasons. I was and still am very excited for the opportunity to play for and call Cedar Rapids my home.”

Tendered players must play in 55 percent of their team’s regular-season games.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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