What has Semyon Der-Arguchintsev been up to since leaving the Toronto Maple Leafs?
By Steven Ellis2 months ago
Remember Semyon Der-Arguchintsev? Of course you do.
After six years in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ system, the fanbase had to say goodbye this summer when he headed to Russia to join the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. It was notable because SDA spent more of his development time playing in Canada, unlike most other Russians we see trying to make the NHL. Other than a single game in Russian U-16 hockey in 2015, and a 17-game stint with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod during the COVID-impacted 2020-21 season, Der-Aruchintsev has spent most of his hockey career playing within a couple of hours of Scotiabank Arena.
SDA became a solid contributor at the AHL level. He has a career-best 40 points in 50 games last year, with his playmaking ability being his standout quality. But over time, he seemed more confident shooting the puck and putting himself in a scoring position, and the goal count started to improve.
That’s especially the case now, where, for the first time in his pro career, Der-Arguchinstev has more goals than assists. He’s up to 10 goals and 18 points in 33 games with Chelyabinsk, good for fourth in team scoring. Der-Arguchintsev has played alongside Nikita Soshnikov, who spent parts of three seasons with the Leafs from 2015-18.
Chelyabinsk is a mid-pack team right now, sitting sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’re not a lock to make the playoffs, but SDA is a big part of the team’s offense.
Just to clarify: SDA is still property of the Leafs. He signed a two-year deal in the KHL, but if he chooses to return after that, the Leafs will still have first dibs on him. The same goes for 28-year-old winger Fabrice Herzog, who the Leafs drafted in 2013 and even had play five games with the Marlies back in 2014. They also retained Denis Malgin’s rights that way before bringing him back last year.
That being said, I’d be shocked if we ever see him don the blue and white again.
Der-Arguchintsev went home for a reason. He wasn’t getting any NHL duty beyond his debut last year, and he wasn’t exactly blowing off the doors with the Marlies, either. At the very least, he’s a solid top-six AHLer who can probably hit 50 points in a full year. But it seems doubtful that he’d want to go back to the AHL with no guarantee of an NHL shot. And, realistically, he’s not an NHL-caliber player.
At 23, Der-Arguchintsev is still quite young. There’s still plenty of time for him to develop into a late bloomer. Keeping his rights gives the Leafs some flexibility, with his rights beind held until 2028, according to CapFriendly. He’s one of a handful of older Russian-based players they’ve got the rights to, including Vladimir Bobylev, Nikolai Chebykin, Vladislav Kara and Semyon Kizimov. None will likely ever sniff NHL action.
Regardless of what happens, it’s good to see him thriving back home. He gave it his all with the Leafs, and it didn’t pan out, but he’s got a chance to build himself one heck of a career. We’ll see what happens next.
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