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Reflections on full season in Manitoba with the Moose for Winnipeg Jets prospect Nikita Chibrikov

After a full season in Winnipeg with the Moose the Jets prospect reflected on the 2023-24 campaign.

Recap of the 2023-24 season for Nikita Chibrikov:

13 months ago we took note at a Moose game that Winnipeg Jets 2021 2nd rounder Nikita Chibrikov was present inside Canada Life Centre after his season in the KHL had come to an end. Three days later he would sign his three-year ELC with the NHL team which drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2021 Draft. He didn’t get into any games during the playoffs with the Moose but did spend time with them alongside fellow Jets draft pick Danny Zhilkin (2022 3rd) who happened to be a guy he grew up and played hockey with in Russia with from ages 4-9 until Zhilkin moved to Canada. Chibrikov spent last summer training in Ontario with Zhilkin.

Fast forward to the start of the 2023-24 season which saw an influx of young Jets prospects added to the AHL club of Manitoba. His first pro goal in North America was not one to write home about despite the fact it came against the Wranglers Dustin Wolf who was AHL Goalie of the Year in 2021-22 and 2022-23. Despite the fact he’d only 5’9 he doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game as can be seen from this booming hit. He also took a lot of punishment (here and here) but every single time he would return to the game. He was trusted late in games to protect the lead and showed he was willing to sacrifice the body to do so. During the stretch which saw the Moose lose 11 straight (0-10-1) he even apologized to the fans for how the team was doing. He also showed a cheekiness a few times when he “silenced the crowd” in Grand Rapids (see here) and against Chicago (see here) and here was his explanation for the move in Grand Rapids.

He would conclude the 2023-24 season with 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 70 games. His 30 apples puts him 6th on the All-Time Rookie Assist list while his 47 points puts him 7th on the All-Time Rookie Points list. He finished tied for 7th in AHL rookie points. Of course his highlights of the year is likely making his NHL debut with the Jets in game 82 of their season which also saw him score his first NHL goal and get named as 1st Star of the Game.

Chibrikov is heading back home to Russia to train, visit with family, do some University and then expects to return in August.

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