So, you want Steve Yzerman to take a REAL swing for the fences when the Red Wings select fourth overall in this year’s NHL draft? Here’s one way to do just that: draft a Russian goaltender who has the possibility of being a generational talent in Yaroslav Askarov.
Goaltenders are not often selected in the first round, let alone in the top five of any given draft. In fact, only five goaltenders have been selected within the first five picks of a draft since the year 2000. Those goaltenders were Carey Price (fifth overall in 2005), Marc-Andre Fleury (first overall 2003), Kari Lehtonen (second overall in 2002), and Rick DiPietro (first overall in 2000).
One could definitely argue that the most recent two on that list (Price and Fleury) were worthy of their draft slots, and deserving of being taken so early. But, is Askarov also worthy? He is ranked as high as seventh in the major prospect rankings, and has been mocked in most circles in the early/mid teens (Fansided, Draftsite, Draftutopia), but others have him falling as low as 20th (Tankathon).
Is there actually a world in which the Red Wings select a goaltender at #4? It certainly seems unlikely, but here are some reasons why it might not be the craziest idea you’ve heard today:
-After next season, the Red Wings do not have a single goaltender under contract
-Keith Petruzzeli is probably the best goaltending prospect in Detroit’s system, and he’s still years from even being considered closed to “NHL ready”
-Generational goaltending talents such as Askarov do not come around very often.
NHL Central Scouting lists his best assets as speed, awareness, and mental makeup, and compare him to Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Their scouting report on the young Russian goaltender: “A technically sound goaltender with good instincts capable of reading the game well. He’s good at communicating, can react quickly and offers a very quick (right) glove hand. He’s a solid pro prospect.”
Sure, it seems unlikely that the team would reach so far as to take Askarov with their fourth overall pick. But, don’t bet the farm that they wont do it, either.
In case you missed our other draft prospect profiles: