For a prospect in the NHL Draft, production isn’t everything, but it’s typically a decent indicator of the players who do have a shot to make an impact at the next level. In the QMJHL, Egor Serdyuk has posted strong numbers but remains a bit under the radar heading toward the draft. Could he be right for the Devils?
Who is Egor Serdyuk?
Egor Serdyuk is a Russian winger who made the jump across the pond to the QMJHL for the 2018-19 season. Serdyuk played for the Victoriaville Tigres and produced quite well as a rookie international import, putting up over a point per game. Born June 3, 2001 in Novosibirsk, Russia, Serdyuk is among the younger players in this year’s draft class. He is on the smaller side at 5’-11” and 165 pounds but, beyond being a bit on the light side for now, is in line with many modern wingers at that size.
Prior to coming to North America and joining Victoriaville, Serdyuk played his hockey in Russian juniors, most recently putting up around a half point per game in the MHL (Russian major junior) in his age 16 season. This season in the QMJHL, Serdyuk had little issue with the transition to North American ice, as he was an immediate impact player for Victoriaville after the team that took him in the import draft. He put up 25 goals and 40 assists for 65 points in 63 games, making him one of only a few first-year draft-eligible players in the Q to put up over a point per game. On Victoriaville specifically, he comfortably lead his team in scoring, outpacing the next closest teammate by 10 points. His career stats from Elite Prospects are below.
Serdyuk is regarded as a very skilled player with the puck, being able to both create on his own and through strong passing. As with any forward, having good vision and an ability to anticipate and make smart plays is a huge part of the battle. His shot is also generally considered a plus in his game, as multiple sources like his wrist shot in particular. His skating is conspicuously absent from most analyses, which leads one to believe that it is neither notably good nor bad. The one knock on his game seems to be that he needs a bit more focus in his game away from the puck, but while a few profiles ding him on that, none seem to consider it a major issue. The picture that arises is of a skilled winger who made the most of his rookie season on an otherwise mediocre Victoriaville team and produced well.
Where is Serdyuk Ranked?
The rankings of Serdyuk are interesting, in that based on some of the reviews of his play and the production he had in the Q, they feel a little bit on the low side. I suspect that has a little to do with a lackluster showing at the U-19 World Junior A Challenge in the fall and a lack of standout skating. Most rankings have him third round or lower, with him finding himself on the outside looking in at some big outlet rankings like TSN and The Athletic.
- NHL Central Scouting: #71 (North American skaters)
- Future Considerations: #78
- The Draft Analyst: #112 (April 500)
- The Athletic (Wheeler): Honorable Mention (outside Top 100)
- The Hockey Writers: #77
What Others Have to Say About Egor Serdyuk
In the various profiles out there on Egor Serdyuk, the picture that emerges is of a skilled, if not physically imposing, winger who uses his good hands and vision to make plays. This from Andy Lehoux’s Notebook at Future Considerations gives a good quick overview of his game:
He possesses a great vision and passing abilities that allows him to open the play well and create many zone breakouts and entries. His precise wrist shot and quick release are quite impressive too. He is versatile offensively and can create scoring chances for his linemates, or lead the offense by himself. Defensively, Serdyuk reads the play well and can re-start the attack with ease, but there is room for improvement in his involvement.
I’m a sucker for good passing, and Serdyuk appears to have that element in his game (as his 40 assists on a lackluster team seem to attest to). That he has a good shot to go with it is definitely an added bonus.
Elsewhere, at prospect site Scouching in their midseason rankings, they talk about how players with Serdyuk’s profile can sometimes slide and become a strong value, which rings true given where he generally lands in the rankings (they, conversely, had him in the 31-50 grouping).
Yegor Serdyuk has an excellent profile on a bad team, and often players like him fall inexplicably in the draft. He’s a guy who I could see being great value unless he continues to improve as he has.
With more praise for his offensive game, there is this blurb from from Bill Placzek at Draft Site:
Under the radar import who has gotten little buzz but quietly averaged over a point a game. Not six foot or over 170 lbs., but nonetheless drives the play with his feet, reads the ice and uses his talents to be very creative and a difference maker. Moves fluidly through the traffic and able to beat defenders one on one.
Finally, from this full breakdown of their rankings for the first two rounds at Blueshirts Breakaway, Drew Way highlights Serdyuk as one of the potential sleepers in the draft.
Serdyuk is a 5’ 11’’, 165-pound winger from Russia that played this past season with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL, where he posted 25 goals and 40 assists in 63 games. Serdyuk possesses a lot of skill and boasts great hands and agility that really stand out when you watch him. While he doesn’t shoot as often as I’d like, he has an impressive wrist shot and perhaps is most impressive attribute is his ice vision, as he is routinely able to pass his linemates open, similar to what a star QB does with his receivers.
Serdyuk does need to work on his strength and his attentiveness in my opinion, as sometimes he can look a bit aloof when he’s not on the puck, but I don’t personally feel either is a real serious concern.
Again his vision and his shot are praised here, and they echo the Scouching take that he is likely to end up a good value for someone.
A Little Video
There’s not much in the way of highlights packages, but there’s video of some of Serdyuk’s exploits with the U17 Russia team at the Five Nations Tournament last year, where he apparently played quite well (He totaled 9 points in 6 games with the U17 team).
First, a game in which he scores a hat trick with his quick release (he’s Russia #18).
Then a 1G, 2A effort where his strong passing was on display a couple times.
An Opinion of Sorts
Once you get past the top of any draft, the name of the game is all about finding value, or more precisely, identifying the players that other teams/scouts are undervaluing and taking them when they start to slide. Egor Serdyuk strikes me as a player that might fit that mold. He is a strong passer and shooter who put up over a point per game in the QMJHL, finishing fifth in scoring (sixth in points per game) among draft-eligible U18 players in the league. His skating is apparently only okay and he has some question marks away from the puck, but once you get outside the first round, every player is going to have some flaws in their profile. Serdyuk is a plus in some of the stuff that’s difficult to teach and put together very strong numbers on a not-great team to boot. To me, picking him could make some definite sense as early as the back half of the second round, and certainly if he slides into the late third or fourth round. Plus, he represents an opportunity to replenish the Devils’ dwindling strategic Egor/Yegor reserves.
What are your thoughts on Yegor Serdyuk? Do you like what you’ve read about his game and think he could be a fit for New Jersey? Where do you think you’d be willing to spend a pick on him, given some of the rankings that place him in fourth-round range? Any red flags you see or is he a worthwhile target as a sleeper? Share your thoughts in the comments below and thanks for reading.