NHL Draft Prospect Profile #58: Anton Slepyshev

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Anton Slepyshev has fallen in our rankings due to the ever present KHL factor.  The first overall pick in the 2011 KHL Draft, Slepshyev has been a member of KHL squad Mettalurg Novokuznetsk all season long.  With no transfer agreement in place and the money that a player like Slepshyev can earn in the KHL, we see fewer and fewer Russians drafted.  It is certainly a risk, and it often takes teams being patient for a few years before these guys come to North America as we’ve seen with Evgeni Kuznetsov choosing to stay in the KHL this year, it can sometimes be years before a KHL prospect will come to the NHL.  However with the talent that is available the risks are still worth it, as many eventually do come over such as recent Blues’ signee Vladimir Tarasenko, and Montreal’s Alexei Emelin who joined the team last season.  Slepyshev was a member of Russia’s 2011 entry into the IIHF Under 18 World Championships, and was the captain of this year’s squad.  This international play was where we were able to get our looks at him.

Left Wing
Born May 13, 1994– Penza, Russia
Height 6.02 — Weight 185 — Shoots Right

Slepyshev is already a very good skater, and with a bit of refined technique could become a great one.  Slepyshev has very good top end speed, and quick acceleration despite a stride that is a little bit too short and choppy.  A small bit of work would change Slepyshev from a very good skater to a great one.  He already possesses the balance, agility and strength on his skates that is necessary to compete at the next level.

Slepyshev is a talented offensive player.  He loves to shoot and has a very good array of shots.  His wrist shot and snap shot both are hard, accurate, and feature a quick release.  Slepyshev has very good hands, and is able to dangle around defencemen.  He’s not afraid to drive the net and generated chances in close with his quick hands.  He is a hard worker engaging in and winning numerous puck battles along the boards, and is willing to take abuse in front of the net.  Slepyshev could however use some work on his playmaking.

Slepyshev is well developped defensively.  He has effective positioning and uses his stick to cut down on passing lanes.  He pressures the puck carrier well, and was an important part of Russia’s Penalty Kill Unit at the Under 18s.  His impressive work along the boards, and high compete level seem to help him in this aspect of the game.

Based on recent draft results, and how the KHL fear has effected those playing in the KHL in the draft, we’ve downgraded Slepyshev quite a few ranks.  If he were playing in the CHL, like fellow Russians Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko, we think he would be a late first round pick.  However the fear that he will stay in the KHL for a few more seasons is real, and causes him to slip in our rankings.  We’d compare Slepyshev’s maximum potential to become a player similar to Radim Vrbata of the Phoenix Coyotes.

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… and thats the Last Word.

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