San Jose Hockey Now has learned that Ivan Chekhovich will skate for HC Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod for the entirety of the 2020-21 KHL season.
Chekhovich will not be returning to North America when 2020-21 San Jose Sharks training camp opens.
The Sharks retain Chekhovich’s rights; this is a full-season loan.
— HC Torpedo (@torpedonn_eng) October 20, 2020
The prospect will attempt to find his game in his native Russia after a difficult 2019-20 with the San Jose Barracuda.
Coming off a 105-point QMJHL campaign in 2018-19, Chekhovich was expected to adjust quickly to professional play. Instead, his production and time on ice sagged in his first full professional season. The 2017 San Jose Sharks seventh-round pick scored just four goals and 12 points in 42 games, and according to InStat Hockey, was San Jose’s least-used forward, averaging under 12 minutes per night.
He was also healthy scratched on multiple occasions, as recently as two games before the pause.
Co-head coach Mike Chiasson revealed on March 7th: “I think it’s a compete thing for him right now.”
Chiasson, on scratching Chekhovich tonight: "I think it's a compete thing for him right now." pic.twitter.com/ZkmVA7OQ0J
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) March 8, 2020
It was truly an up-and-down season for the offensive winger. Despite his general lack of productivity, Chiasson and co-head coach Jimmy Bonneau had praised Chekhovich’s coachability and work ethic in February and January:
Tough year for Chekhovich, but Bonneau thinks he's turning corner: "Instead of accepting getting pinned or falling down in traffic, he's fighting through…Been better on wall in d-zone too. When that happens, icetime goes up. When icetime goes up, confidence usually follows." pic.twitter.com/0IjLbETdDo
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) February 18, 2020
Mike Chiasson did rave about Chekhovich's coachability & work ethic: "Everyone's got their own learning curve. Credit to this kid, he comes in everyday & he works…Hopefully, it's not too much longer, he can start to find his confidence."
— Sheng Peng (@Sheng_Peng) January 12, 2020
“I can’t find my game, honestly. It’s not the game I want to see,” Chekovich said candidly in January. “Everybody expects way more from me. It’s kind of pressure.”
So now Chekhovich, like fellow San Jose Sharks prospect Jonathan Dahlen, will get a chance to find his scoring touch at home. Dahlen struggled too in the AHL in 2018-19 before returning home to Sweden to play for Timra IK. After leading Allsvenskan in scoring in 2019-20, Dahlen is on fire once again, putting up 12 points in just 5 games so far this year.
“The idea is to play rather than sit around,” Chekhovich’s agent Mark Gandler told San Jose Hockey Now.