A year before the 2020 NHL draft, Artem Shlaine ’20 was getting ready to go into his 2nd and final year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Shlaine was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 5th round 130th pick overall in the 2020 NHL draft. Shlaine is now playing at the University of Connecticut majoring in Business Management.
Shlaine was born in Moscow, Russia. He lived in Moscow until he was 14 years-old. While he first started playing hockey at the age of five, Shlaine started figure skating first. After about 8 months of figure skating lessons, Shlaine wasn’t very interested in figure skating anymore. Shlaine says, “I was more interested in team games and interacting with teammates”. After playing with a hockey team in his hometown with kids a few years older than him, he started playing for Dynamo Moscow, a well known team in Russia. Dynamo Moscow was a more competitive team. Shlaine says, “What I learned from that was if you play against good players you become a better person and a better player”. He says it’s the same way for taking harder classes in school, you get more knowledge out of taking a harder class.
Shlaine played for Dynamo for seven years until he was 14 years-old. Then his family considered moving to the U.S, he wanted to balance his education and hockey. He said, “It’s a better opportunity.” He was in Florida for his first year but then his father became interested in SSM. Shlaine attended SSM for his junior and senior year. Shlaine played center for the Boys Prep Hockey team for both of his years at SSM. Shlaine says, “Shattuck was a great experience for me for two years. Shattuck was a great environment. Making your own schedule. Making friends. It was a great place.” Shlaine’s younger brother Daniel now attends SSM; he is going into his second year as a sophomore.
Shlaine talks about how the transition from high school hockey to college hockey is different, especially because of COVID-19. He says, “You get the same kind of assignments… but the demand and what teachers want from you is kind of different.” Shlaine believes that the college route is the best route for hockey players. He says, “…There’s not a lot you can do without a college degree”. After Shlaine is done playing hockey he wants to use his knowledge to stay around hockey.
The 2020 NHL draft, because of COVID-19, was unfortunately all virtual. Shlaine was drafted by the New Jersey Devils. There are some conflicting reactions of Shlaine being picked; Pucks and Pitchforks says, “The Devils could have gone off the reservation with their 130th pick. Instead, they took one of the best players on the draft board in Artem Shlaine.” All About The Jersey’s reaction was “Another center. Either the Devils are looking to convert centers to wing as an organizational philosophy or he was the best player available in this slot.” All About The Jersey also said, “The puck skills profile from elite prospects is promising but he looks like a long shot to make the team anytime soon and the devils will need to track how he develops in the NCAA with UCONN.” There was also some talk about how Shlaine should have gone in the top 100 in the draft.
Shlaine was very excited about being drafted “It’s a feeling you get, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the draft should have been in person.” The 2020 NHL Draft was also delayed a couple of months because of COVID-19. Because of the pandemic and the draft being online, Shlaine spent the draft in front of a TV in a teammate’s dorm room. A few of his teammates also got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of being drafted as well. The draft was supposed to be held in Montreal and Shlaine’s family was going to attend. Shlaine says he’s going to play college hockey until the New Jersey Devils decide he’s ready for the NHL.