Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.
Born in Russia, Egor Afanasyev came to North America as a 15-year-old to advance his hockey career. He joined the Little Caesar’s program in the Detroit area, before going to the USHL. After scoring just 14 points in his first USHL season, Afanasyev had a breakout season in his sophomore campaign. He put up 27 goals and 35 assists for 62 points in 58 games. Afanasyev also added two goals and five assists for seven points in eight playoff games. Unfortunately, Muskegon fell to the Chicago Steel in the USHL Eastern Conference Final. Afanasyev was named to the USHL’s third all-star team.
Afanasyev has represented Russia internationally. Last year, he put up two goals and five points in five games at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Going forward, he is committed to playing college hockey for the Michigan State Spartans. If he should change his mind and opt to go the CHL route, he was drafted by the Ottawa 67s, but his rights are currently owned by the Windsor Spitfires following a trade deadline deal.
Egor Afanasyev Scouting Report
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born January 23rd, 2001 — Tver, Russia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 201 lbs [193 cm/91 kg]
Afanasyev is a big forward and a good skater for his size. While not a speedster, he more than keeps up with the play with good top-end speed. He could work on his first few steps, but his acceleration is pretty good. His agility and edgework are also decent. While he could improve his footspeed and become even better, this is not something that holds him back at this point. Where he really excels though is in his balance and power. Playing a power game, Afanasyev can fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He is strong on the puck and protects it well. He also does well in winning battles along the boards.
Egor Afanasyev plays a power game. He gets to the front of the net, creating havoc, pouncing on rebounds, getting tip-ins, and making himself available to take a pass and fire a quick shot on the net. He can also score goals from further out and has an excellent arsenal of shots. His snapshot and wrist shot are both powerful, accurate and feature quick releases. He also has a very good slap shot and one-timer.
Afanasyev can also play the role of playmaker. He protects the puck extremely well down low. Afanasyev uses his big body to hold off defenders and combines this with a long stick and effective stickhandling. This extends plays and allows teammates the opportunity to get open. He has good vision and the smarts to make passes to open teammates as they go to the net. Afansyev is not a big hitter, but he uses his size and long stick to cut down the available lanes on the breakout and create turnovers.
Afanasyev needs some work on improving his defensive game. He works hard to get back in the zone and be involved with back support but has a tendency to get caught out of position. He can sometimes watch the puck a bit too much and stop moving his feet, which will allow his point man to get open. Afanasyev doesn’t get involved down low very often, preferring to stay up top and try to prevent the point man from getting the puck. This is an area that can be improved with commitment from Afanasyev and some good coaching.
Projection and Comparison
Egor Afanasyev’s size and skill make him an intriguing prospect heading into the 2019 NHL Draft. Sometimes bigger forwards take some time to develop before being NHL ready and given the deficiencies in Afanasyev’s defensive game he is a bit of a project. If he develops properly he could be a second liner at even strength, with the ability to play an important role in front of the net on the power play. He can also continue to work on his footspeed and improve his explosiveness going forward. Afanasyev’s game is similar to James van Riemsdyk. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Egor Afanasyev that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.