Name: Yaroslav Askarov
Team: SKA-Neva St. Petersburg
Age/DOB: 17-years-old, June 16th, 2002
Birthplace: Omsk, Russia
Weight: 176 lbs
Potential Draft Round: Early First-round
NHL potential: Franchise Goaltender (Vezina Caliber)
Goaltending Style: Butterfly
Yaroslav Askarov is clearly the top goaltender available at the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Askarov can be expected to be taken in the top-15 and potentially even the top-10. He has dominated all year playing in the VHL which is the second tier professional men’s league in Russia, just below the KHL.
Askarov has spent the season playing in the VHL as a 17-years-old which is extremely impressive, to say the least. Not only has he played in the VHL all season, but he has been great between the pipes, recording a .920 SV% and a 2.45 GAA. Askarov also made his KHL debut as a 17-year-old this year, a game in which he won.
Askarov does a lot of things very well and has very few weaknesses. For starters, Askarov excels at tracking the puck and anticipating passes, a skill that allows him to make highlight-reel saves and stun the opposition. In addition to his puck-tracking abilities, his lateral movement helps him get into a position to make saves and get to the other side of the net quickly.
Askarov plays with a butterfly stance which perfectly complements his skills. It allows him to use his speed and superb athleticism to glide across the create or dive to make big saves when need be. Identifying his weaknesses is a tough task.
At just 17-years-old, whatever areas of his game that need fine-tuning have more than enough time to be addressed before he makes his way to the NHL. His glove hand is another one of his top assets. He is able to flash the leather to make some big saves as he’s known for and interestingly catches with his right glove which is quite rare with today’s realm of goaltenders.
Askarov has all of the skills to be a franchise goaltender in the NHL. He possesses to proper mentality, skills and athleticism that is reminiscent of some of hockey’s top goaltender at that age.