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 2021 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. Today we bring you our Sasha Pastujov Scouting Report.
The U.S. National Team Development Program has consistently produced top draft prospects in recent years. The latest is Bradenton, Florida native Sasha Pastujov. A talented left-winger, Pastujov spent most of this season on the Under-18 team’s top line. He put up 30 goals and 35 assists for 65 points in 41 games with the NTDP. Pastujov was named one of the top three players on the team at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He certainly did his part with five goals and three assists for eight points in five games in the tournament. Despite the U.S. suffering a disappointing quarter-final loss, it certainly can’t be blamed on Pastujov.
In 2019-20 Pastujov put up 14 goals and 36 assists for 50 points in 49 games with the Under-17 squad. He also helped the team to a silver medal at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, putting up one goal and seven assists for eight points in six tournament games. In fact, he led the tournament in assists. Pastujov is committed to attending the University of Notre Dame and playing for the Fighting Irish next season. Should he change his mind and go the CHL route, his rights belong to the Guelph Storm.
Sasha Pastujov Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born July 15th, 2003 — Bradenton, Florida
Height 6’0″ — Weight 180 [183 cm/82 kg]
Pastujov’s skating is a bit hit and miss. His stride is short and choppy. This takes away from his explosiveness and acceleration. However, once he gets moving, his top speed is very good. If he can work with a good skating coach over the next few years there is plenty of room for improving his explosiveness. However, Pastujov’s agility and edgework are already at a very high level. He is able to maneuver in and out of traffic both with and without the puck. His quick movements can create passing and shooting lanes. Pastujov is also strong on his skates. He can fight through checks and get to dirty areas. He also wins battles on the boards and in front of the net. This should only improve as he continues to get stronger and matures.
Pastujov is a very smart player. He reads the play extremely well and has excellent vision. Pastujov makes smart plays with the puck. He has excellent stickhandling ability and can control the puck in the cycle game. His ability to speed the play up or slow it down buys time for his linemates to get open. When they do, Pastujov is an excellent passer. His quick hands and lateral movement open up passing lanes. Pastujov sets up teammates with quick passes and creates scoring chances. He is also good at skating the puck through the neutral zone and generating effective zone entries. In this way, he is able to drive the play and create strong puck possession.
Pastujov really improved his shot over the past year. He has worked on having a much quicker and more deceptive release on his wrist and snapshots. This has shown in his increased goal totals. His shot is accurate and features decent power. Pastujov gets himself open without the puck and goes to goal-scoring areas in front of the net. He is willing to battle for position in front of the net and fights hard for the puck along the boards. Pastujov is also good on the forecheck. He pressures defenders and creates turnovers. Pastujov is also not afraid to play a physical game.
Pastujov’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. When he comes back and supports the defence with backpressure against the rush, he does a really good job. Pastujov also comes back deep and uses his size and strength to defend against the cycle game. However, he can be a bit too focused on the puck and chase it, leaving his man open when he should be more disciplined in his positioning. He also can have a tendency to fly the zone and try to create an odd-man rush when a turnover is created. This can work at times but there is also a chance that he becomes a liability if his team does not clear the zone.
Projection and Comparison
Pastujov is a boom or bust prospect. He has the offensive skill necessary to become a top-six winger if he reaches his ceiling. Pastujov projects as an offensive winger who can create at even strength and play on the power play going forward. His ability to control the play from the half boards as well as to score from dirty areas are real assets. However, he needs some work on his defensive game and on his skating. He will get time to work on his game while playing at Notre Dame over the next couple of years. Pastujov’s game is reminiscent of Blake Wheeler but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Sasha Pastujov that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for our latest NHL Draft Article.
Sasha Pastujov Scouting Report Main Photo:
The next player in our 2021 NHL Draft profile series is current @USAHockeyNTDP forward Sasha Pastujov (@sashapastujov12)! The @NDHockey commit was an A-rated skater on both the @NHLCentralScout Preliminary and Updated lists. #WhosNext https://t.co/8ENYt5LS1t pic.twitter.com/K3jc2rf7yG
— USHL (@USHL) March 12, 2021