NHL Draft Prospect Profile #27: Andrei Vasilevski
Drafted 20th Overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning
Andrei Vasilevski (Vasilevsky, Vasilevskiy) burst onto the international scene at the 2010 World IIHF Championships, where the then 15 year old goalie showed to be very impressive in backstopping the Russian team. He would continue this strong international play at the 2012 World Junior Championships where the 17 year old Vasilevski proved to be very impressive with a .953 save percentage in the tournament and helping the Russian squad to the silver medal. He would move on and represent Russia at the 5 Nations Tournament and at the 2012 World Under 18s.
To clear up the question on the spelling of Vasilevski’s name (Vasilevski, Vasilevskiy, Vasilevsky) . The confusion comes from the difficulty in translating cyrillic to english, and will need to be clarified by Vasilevski himself when he comes to North America. Vasilevski currently plays for UFA in the Russian MHL (junior league to the KHL).
Born July 25 1994 – Tyumen, Russia
Height 6.03 — Weight 190 — Shoots L – Catches L
Vasilevski has the ideal height and size that NHL teams are looking for more and more in goaltenders today. He is big and takes up a lot of space. As evidenced by his performance in international competitions Vasilevski is mature beyond his years, and this helps him maintain a cool and calm composure in the net.
Vasilevski has quick and agile legs that cover the bottom of the net. He is very hard to beat down low. He also has an effective glove hand, something that more and more European goalies are learning to develop in recent years. Vasilevski is very good in his lateral movement, he gets side to side in his crease quickly and doesn’t overcommit to cross-ice passes.
There are not a lot of huge weaknesses in Vasilevski’s game. Like many young goalies he is going to need to better control his rebounds. However this will come with time and experience. We also saw that he let things get away from him a little bit in the third period of the Canada/Russia semi-final at the World Juniors. However we don’t see this as a regular occurence for Vasilevski, who was otherwise spectacular in the tournament, and think this loss of focus is something that will also be corrected with experience and muturity. Overall, his technique is still a little raw, but the talent is definitely there and just needs to be refined.
We do believe that Vasilevski may be as good or better than Malcolm Subban, who we rated higher. However the “Russian Factor” has come into play in these draft rankings. The fear of big money KHL deals preventing prospects from coming over is very real. There is some concern that when the time comes, getting Vasilevski to leave his Russian team to come to the AHL (where he will need to develop into a starter) might be a problem. While Vasilevski hasn’t made any indication he won’t come over, we do realize that an AHL salary will be much lower than what he can earn in Russia, and few teams will be prepared to bring a prospect goalie directly from Russia and into the NHL with no minor league development time. This has knocked Vasilevski down our draft board by approximately 10-15 spots. We do however want to be clear, this is almost purely a recognition of the economic realities of KHL hockey vs AHL hockey, and not a shot at him due to his heritage, or anything like that. This fear is heightened with prospects who play their junior hockey in the MHL, rather than kids who come to North America like Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko. Vasilevski was also the 7th overall pick in the KHL draft, which is a strong indication that his club has big plans for him and won’t let him go to the NHL without a bidding war.
Vasilevski definetely has NHL potential to be a number one goalie. The right team with opportunity for him to progress through their system could get an absolute steal of a goalie in this draft. We would compare Vasilevski and his style to Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins.
… and thats the Last Word.