Kirill Tulupov is a former 3rd round pick (67 overall in 2006) of the New Jersey Devils. He’s 23 years old, 6’3″ and 220 lbs.
You might be saying “who the hell is this guy”… admittedly, so am I, but here is what I’ve learned about him.
A) He’s a right handed defenseman… we all know how I like my right hand d-men. They’re hard to come by.
B) It sounds like he plays a strong physical game, which I’ve gathered from this analysis on Hockey’s Future:
Tulupov’s most conspicuous advantage is his size. He not only possesses an impressive 6’3 220 lbs frame but also takes full advantage of it not letting any of his opponents get away with the puck easily.
Tulupov loves to check, sometimes a little too much and clog the speedy forwards that try to create traffic in front of the net. He does a fantastic job of keeping the crease clear of attacking forwards and by clearing traffic from in front of the net, makes life much easier for his goaltender. Also, Tulupov’s value on a penalty-killing unit can’t be overestimated. He is quite adept at dropping down and blocking shots before they reach the goaltender.
He also has a hard and accurate slap shot and he shows a willingness to pinch in at the offensive blueline and move into the slot for scoring opportunities. Tulupov has decent skating ability, especially for a player of his size.
Tulupov appears to be just scratching the surface of his vast potential after a successful first season in the CHL. A physical, mean and nasty tower of power, Tulupov has a vast array of tools and appears at this point to be one of the Devils more well-rounded defense prospects. Physically, Tulupov is probably already ready for the AHL, but the Devils will not rush him and will let him play 2007-08 in the CHL again before promoting him.
So what happened to this kid? How did he drop off the face of the planet? Seems like he even didn’t play much hockey last year, even. He played part of his year with the KHL and part with the VHL (yes, VHL.. which best as I can see is “Russia’s 2nd best league”.. which I would guess is probably on par with an AHL or ECHL). Not really outstanding resume notes as of recently, but I’d be interested anyways in what he can do.
On paper, with that Hockey’s Future write-up, he’s exactly what I would think our team would need. However, that write up is 3 years old. Lots can change. They also can tend to be over-enamored with players in their write-ups. So I don’t put a lot of stock in it either.
Really, it’s just one more player to take a crack at filling a need for a right-handed “shutdown” defenseman.
Some hit videos for your enjoyment:
Looking at those videos, it looks like this guy is a friggen pit bull. Love it? Yes, I do. But still, huge issue with the fact that he has dropped off the face of the earth. But who knows.. maybe can be saved.
Some quotes on him (Take with a grain of salt as they are just from Hockeys Future / HfBoards):
Thanks to Kevin Forbes of Hockey’s Future for these fine notes from a couple years ago (his own observations):
Looking through my notebooks of the years I watched him, three strikes appear each year:
1. His skating. He was big, but he wasn’t mobile and he got caught flat-footed in defensive situations a lot. I’m pretty sure this deficiency and his lack of year-to-year progress and growth in this area is the main reason why he does not have a contract.
2. His hitting. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Tulupov lay out guys. I’ve seen players avoid his side of the ice for that specific reason. Tulupov is a physical force on the ice and why Devils fans and QMJHL fans alike shared videos of him demolishing opponents. Tulupov loved to hit. The problem is he loved it a bit too much. Adding to his lack of agility in the defensive zone was his tendency to seek out the big hit, pulling himself out of position and leaving attacking forwards open.
3. His play with the puck. Obviously New Jersey was hoping he’d become a two-way force, move the puck well, use his big point shot and make the lives of attacking forwards miserable. Unfortunately, he had a tendency to panic a bit when the puck was on his stick, primarily in the defensive zone. Just any sort of pressure when he’s back in his zone and looking to move it out and he seemed prone to either cough it up or make a bad play.
A lot of this has to do with confidence and as mentioned, perhaps his coaches weren’t completely supportive of him growing as an athlete and developing and were content with him being just the hard hitting defender with a big shot.
What I was trying to say was that often when he had the puck and especially when he was being pressured while having the puck on his stick, he often looked unsure of himself, or uncomfortable. Perhaps panic was not the correct word to use, perhaps lack of confidence (which I alluded to in the paragraph immediately below the one you have a problem with).
And a quote from “The Mad Crapper” at HFBoards:
For those interested, the reason Tulupov was never resigned by the Devils was due to his constant riff with his head coaches.
The “riffs” stemmed from his lack of the English language & not understanding what he was being told to do on the ice. That, coupled with players not being too helpful in telling him the coaches orders either. This would lead to verbal wars with coaches & Tulupov being being deemed as “disrespectful” … “insubordinate” …”difficult” … etc., He admits that would lead to frustration, that would then lead into anger on the ice. Of which, lead to some of his fantastic bone-crushing hits.
He also told me that when he was in Quebec, it was hard for him to find any people that he could feel comfortable with & call a friend. He was outcasted. That too, lead to the Devils management thinking he was a loner with his own agenda & elected to move on without him.
Moreover, by the end of his Junior career, he figured out that his agency was useless & never helped him out. Even worse, they didn’t accept his first Devils contract. So for that reason, he never had any try-outs with any other team, nor did he ever speak to any other team representatives.
Kinda sad, the guy is a stud & would make a huge impact in the NHL had someone took the time to help him along. However, we live in a selfish world, where everyone is looking out for themselves & not to have a player like Tulupov around, makes them get noticed instead.
Hopefully he’ll get another chance at the NHL.
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