As we know, offense has been a huge problem for the Devils, and recent picks in the late round have failed to yield dividends. Undersized players who perform also tend to fall in the draft, as seen in the case of Johnny Gaudreau and Brayden Point, and then end up adjusting well and sometimes even dominating the NHL. Alexeyev Yaroslav has the potential to be another undersized forward underrated due to his size.
Who Is Alexeyev Yaroslav?
Alexeyev Yaroslav was born on January 17th, 1999. He’s listed as 5’11, 152 lbs according to Elite Prospects, although Hockey Draft Central lists him as 5’9, 146 lbs. Either way, he’s on the small side. Last year, he played for Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL, where he was 4th on the team in goals, assists, and points. He had a decent rookie campaign, recording 52 points in 60 games while netting 24 goals and dishing 28 assists. Sherbrooke themselves had a terrible year, going 26-38-1 and not qualifying for the playoffs. To give Yaroslav credit, he was the only player on this Phoenix team to be included in the NHL’s Central Scouting Service, as seen through this post.
It should be noted that in 2015-2016, Yaroslav participated in the U-18 World Junior Championships due to the Russian doping scandal as a 145 lb. 16 year old, and was expected to struggle. Instead, he performed quite well, getting 2 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
Where Is Alexeyev Yaroslav Ranked?
Yaroslav, according to NHL Central Scouting, is ranked 114th among North American Skaters. Interestingly enough, he dropped from his midyear ranking of 85 to this, which could signal a decline in play or a lack of belief in his skill translation. Steve Kournianos seemed to believe in Yaroslav more, ranking him 80th in his mock draft, but it should also be noted that he dropped from a mid-year ranking of 50th. Being a later-round draft pick, there’s not too much about Yaroslav elsewhere on the internet, but the general consensus seems to be he’ll be a 4th-5th round draft pick, though from what I’ve seen in recent drafts his size may drop him down even farther.
What Others Say About Alexeyev Yaroslav?
There isn’t too much out about Alexeyev Yaroslav due to his later draft ranking, but from the little I’ve seen I can deduce he’s slippery with great puck control, but with little else to offer. According to Mike Barrett of Dobber Prospects
The 12th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft may just stand at 5-9 148 lbs, but he is very shifty, and always seems to find a path to the net. Alexeyev goes full speed ahead into traffic with the puck on his stick, and is a hungry goal-seeker. He is a focused athlete who isn't afraid of a challenge. How hard he works until Spring, and a little puck-luck will determine if he ends up as anything more than a late-round flyer.
As noted by Barrett, his size stands in the way a bit, but his shiftiness and ability to charge the net helps his draft stock. He’s a goal scorer, and very focused in improving himself. As this was written in October, Barrett noted that he could improve his draft stock with more work, but it appears that he struggled a bit due to his draft stock unanimously dropping on most sites.
A slippery and skilled offensive player, Alexeyev has seven points in his past five games as Sherbrooke fights for the final playoff spot. At 145 pounds, he certainly has to get bigger, but his instincts with the puck are excellent.”
Again, the size is an issue. However, this shows that Alexeyev is somewhat clutch, turning up when the team needs him the most. He is described as slippery and skilled, which is something this Devils team so desperately needs, and excellent puck instincts are good to have as well.
The Sherbrooke Press released an article congratulating Yaroslav on making the scouting rankings, and in it they note
Alexeyev set six Phoenix rookie franchise records this past season, including the most assists by a rookie in a single game. The agile and quick moving setup man...
After the description, his game stats were given, which isn’t important for the purpose of this section, but you can read that from the link up top if you’d like.
In this article, Alexeyev is described as agile and quick-moving, implying he skates really well. His size isn’t mentioned, but this IS a Sherbrooke based source, so there will be negligence in terms of his deficiencies.
Overall, the general consensus seems to be that he’s slippery and a good skater, which makes me like him as a late-round draft pick. While he is small, and hasn’t performed as well as he probably could have, the performance issues could be due to the horrendous Sherbrooke team in general. Again, not much is out there about him.
A Little Video
The Youtube channel NHL Prospects posts a lot of nice videos of independent performances by some lesser-known prospects, so it’s a good channel to check out.
Here, we see Alexeyev’s 4 point performance against the Voltigeurs
The first assist was a simple pass off a loose-puck. Alexeyev did make a nice pass, but it wasn’t too impressive. His first goal was also kind of flukey. His intended pass bounced off a defenseman and towards him, and he easily deposited that goal past an off-balance goalie. Alexeyev’s second assist was a beauty. He was able to deliver a pass through the crease right to his intended target on the power play, and the goal was easy due to that pass. His incredible vision and precision is seen on this play, which does help him as a player. His second goal was a highlight reel goal. He had the hockey IQ to chip the puck forward, knowing he could outskate the defenseman. Even with his size issues, he doesn’t go down then the defenseman applies pressure, and then proceeds to fake out the goalie with his body, while also showcasing his smooth hands. He was calm under pressure, and scored a wonderful goal.
This video shows one of his two-goal performances. The first goal came off a nice shot off a rebound, which he was able to thread through two defenseman and the goalie, which is a nice goal to see, as it shows he does have a nice shot. His second goal was a completely different goal, as his one-two pass led to him breaking into the goal, and again showing his patience in not shooting right away before scoring the goal.
This goal, while his only goal of the game, shows what to love about Alexeyev. He’s slippery, and showcases this with his little deke to get the puck away from a defender. Then, he charges the net, before sliding it past the goalie. It shows everything Alexeyev plays with, and showcases what is good about him as a player.
Again, these are highlights, so his deficiencies aren’t shown.
An Opinion of Sorts
I love Alexeyev Yaroslav as a player based on what I see. He definitely needs to muscle-up, as the NHL game is much more physical than anything he’d experience at the minors, but I do see him being able to grow. As a 4th round pick, I’d say yes right away. Yes, highlights showcase the best in a prospect, but these highlights show a high hockey IQ and a smooth-skating player, something the Devils lack outside of one or two lines. He’s a huge-risk prospect due to his size, and his stats don’t exactly stand out at all, but I see this as a prospect with huge potential to grow and a good pick to risk with a 4th or 5th round pick.
So, do you guys like Alexeyev Yaroslav? Let me know in the comments below, and take care.