Just last season, forward Semyon Der-Arguchintsev was skating with Peterborough in the Ontario Hockey League. Now, just over a year later, he is all set to join the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
Following a brief stint overseas, the centreman arrived at practice on Saturday, smiling ear-to-ear, as he begins his next chapter. Competing in the KHL, it was his first experience playing professional hockey. Doing so on the international stage, it helped prepare him for this chance in terms of strength and competition. “I think it was a great experience for me, I didn’t expect it to be that good a level of hockey and also was obviously pretty exciting for me when I got there for the first time and I saw there were really good players, you know, and obviously I tried to adjust as quick as I could to pro hockey, you know, and I thought it went pretty well and obviously was a great experience for me and it just sucks that I was injured for a couple months there, but other than that, it was really good.”
As he walked into Ford Performance Centre, the native of Moskva put that setback behind him. Between his travels and the mandatory quarantine, Der-Arguchintsev was antsy to get back on the ice. “I finished the season there, like the last game of playoffs, and the next day, or two days later, I flew to Toronto and it was two weeks of quarantine, and obviously, I was just waiting to get on the ice, you know, and I couldn’t wait just to join here, you know, and it was nice to come into the first practice, and obviously after quarantine, it’s a little bit tough sometimes, but it was good.”
While back home so he could rack up some ice time, Der-Arguchintsev, on November 29th, suffered a lower-body injury while playing with Torpedo. Joining the team in October, the youngster, while healthy and active, took the ice in 10 games, racking up five points.
While he was able to return for the playoffs, the one-time Kelly Cup champion played in seven more games while adding on one more point. Now, as he’s recalled to the Marlies, the 2018 draft pick is excited to start competing. “Just coming to the Marlies and playing for them, that’s what excites me most, you know, I’m pretty excited to come here, you know, obviously just like I said, the first practice, so I was really excited about that and can’t wait to get into game action.”
In joining the Toronto Marlies, Der-Arguchintsev knows there are some stiff expectations. However, while the roster features former NHL’ers, it also includes one familiar face. The Russian reacquaints with Nick Robertson, who he played with last season in major junior. “We’re pretty close on the ice, he’s a really nice guy, I try to learn from him, like he’s a really hard-working guy in terms of at the rink, so I try to learn from him some stuff too, but like I said, if I get a chance to play with him here too, I’ll be really excited because we have great chemistry together, so we’re kind of waiting to get back to playing together sometime.”
Having discussed the transition with Greg Moore, the newest face to the team is clear he’s joining to prove himself. “We had a conversation today, it was the first time I came to the rink today and we just talked about the fact that it’s a development league, you know, and I have to push myself to get better here each day, you know, so just like I said, I’m a young guy, so just to try to get better everyday and all the development staff and all the coaches said they’re just gonna help me do whatever they can to become a better player, so that was the conversation I had today.”
Now, as he prepares for his debut, Der-Arguchintsev knows this is only his starting point. “Just gonna try to play my game and improve on the things this organization wants me to do, like off the ice, on the ice, doesn’t matter, just gonna try to learn everything, you know, here, and like I said, gonna try to play my game.”
The Toronto Marlies drop the puck against Stockton in the first of two games at 2:00pmET. Doing so at Coca-Cola Coliseum, the game will be available for viewing on Leafs Nation Network and AHLTV.