Talent, tales add to Kabanov intrigue

Updated: May 18, 2010, 4:13 PM ET
By Gare Joyce
Editor's note: For additional NHL draft coverage, see Gare Joyce's latest mock draft here.

There are many off-ice stories about the upcoming draft. Some are moving, none more so than the story of Eric Gudbranson's family coping with his little brother's battle with cancer. Some are informative, with this video about Tyler Seguin's offseason training. Some are embarrassing, with Riley Sheahan's bust at Notre Dame leading the way. And then there's Kirill Kabanov, No. 31 on Central Scouting's list of North American skaters.

When scouts gather these days, talk inevitably winds around to Kabanov and someone will pipe up with: "Have you heard the latest?" Just when a scout thinks he's heard it all about the Kabanov, a new story, more unbelievable than the last one surfaces.

I'm tempted to describe him as "Kirill Kabanov of the Moncton Wildcats" but that would be misleading. Moncton is in Brandon this week for the Memorial Cup, though it'll probably be heading home after a couple of losses over the weekend to WHL champions Calgary, the host Wheat Kings and a final opening-round game against defending Memorial Cup champs Windsor. To the best of our knowledge Kirill Kabanov has never been to Brandon and certainly hasn't this week. When the Wildcats scooped up Kabanov seventh overall in last year's CHL import draft, Moncton coach Danny Flynn described him in this team video as the best eligible foreign player and a potential first overall draft pick. Flynn and the Wildcats had no guarantee that they'd be able to secure Kabanov's release from his KHL club but were able to pull it off and bring him in for the start of the season.

Thereafter it has been adventure.