There's a lot I didn't know about New Jersey Devils prospect Egor Sharangovich. His name stands out, he's had some shining moments at development and training camps, but I didn't know too much about him.
In a phone call with Binghamton head coach Mark Dennehy, I got to know Sharangovich through the eyes of his coach, discovering the leaps and bounds he's made in his first two seasons in North America and the position he has put himself in to be one of the more relied on players for Dennehy and his coaching staff.
Drafted 141st overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, here are three things about Devils prospect Egor Sharangovich.
1. A REAL JOKESTER
When I spoke with Binghamton head coach Mark Dennehy about Egor Sharangovich, I wanted to understand who he was as a person. I've seen him play in Devils development and training camps but knew very little about his personality and who he was. It was something Dennehy clearly had a lot of fun talking about. Apparently Egor is one of the jokesters on the Binghamton squad, even despite the language barrier.
"If something mysterious moves, goes missing," Dennehy said with a chuckle, "you can be sure you'll see Egor hiding [around the corner] and laughing. The guys are looking for him!"
It wasn't an answer I was expecting when I asked Dennehy about Egor, but I enjoyed getting this insight into the 21-year-old. One of Egor's best friends on the team is Marian Studenic, who Dennehy mentioned the two get up to antics together, bringing a fun and light environment to the team.
2. RISK TAKER
Have a look at Egor's stat line, especially on special teams. Dennehy highlights Egor's hockey sense as one of his greater attributes, it's something that allows Dennehy the opportunity to play Sharangovich in every on-ice situation and trust he will get the job done.
But what was of most intrigue was his three shorthanded goals, tied for the team lead with Nathan Bastian. Dennehy drew attention to Egor's hockey sense. It's a word we hear often about hockey players, but Dennehy began to explain how it pertains to Egor's success.
His shorthanded offensive opportunities are because of how he manages himself on the penalty kill and the smarts he possesses.
"He's smart enough," he explained, "smart enough to take risks on the penalty kill." He has the hockey sense to understand when to take the risk to make the move and foresee a play that will allow him a shorthanded chance without jeopardizing the work of the penalty kill.
Part of that comes from Sharangovich's ability to understand his own game.
"He's not afraid to ask questions," Dennehy told me, "Ryan Parent runs our penalty-kill, when Egor makes a mistake, he's able to point them out before Ryan has to tell him. And then, he corrects it, he fixes his own mistakes."
And just for the record, speaking of special teams, Egor took just two penalties all season. None in the first 35 games, and again none in the final 16.
3. MUCH MORE AHEAD
I asked Dennehy about Sharangovich's point production, his career high 25 points in 57 games, and the Binghamton head coach noted that as the season progressed, the comfort level Egor developed with the North American game became more apparent.
"How about this," Dennehy quipped, "sixty percent of Shara's offense this season came in the final 15 games."
He was also plus-16 in those final 15 games.
Dennehy gives him a lot of credit, arriving in North America two years ago, learning the different nuances of the North American game and being willing to make the necessary adjustments. Undoubtedly there is still a lot of work to be done to reach his full potential, he's only just completed his second AHL season, but the comfort Dennehy can see on the ice, also has traces in his confidence off the ice.
"His English is getting better," Dennehy said, "He's not afraid to ask questions and we're so lucky to have Sergei Brylin." Sarge, as he's affectionately known, takes the lead working with the younger players who primarily speak Russian, serving as a translator when necessary.
"He understands [English] more than he speaks," Dennehy said, "but that's never held him back from pulling pranks!"