It is official that one of most dazzling talents in the 2013 NHL draft pool will wear Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds red and white soonly. Sergei Tolchinsky, the slick Russian whom the 'Hounds gambled on trying to coax to Northern Ontario when they selected him in the CHL import draft on June 27, confirmed he has a visa that will allow him to play to Canada.
It's a coup for the short-staffed Greyhounds and quite possibly the entire Ontario Hockey League, which can use some star power. Tolchinsky's arrival will mean a team which is coming off a ninth-place finish in its conference will have the sole distinction of having two tournament all-stars from last season's World Under-17 Challenge: Tolchinsky and first-pairing defenceman Darnell Nurse. (Tolchinsky has since tweeted that he will begin trekking toward Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday.)
I GET MY VISAAAA!!!!!!!!! Yeeeee
— Sergey Tolchinsky (@Tolchinsky10) September 6, 2012
Tolchinsky will be one to watch once he gets acclimatized to the pace and grind of the OHL. The 5-foot-7 speedmeister could be a treat to watch regardless of what numbers he puts up in the Soo just by virtue of his willingness to see what he can wring out of his lightning-quick hands and superb skating (he's agile and able to change speeds on top of being straight-line fast). As far as the draft goes, being 5-foot-7 makes him a tough player to rate since it can never be fully anticipated which NHL team will take the chance on a smallish prospect.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.