There are a handful of promising goaltending prospects in this year’s draft and the highest on our list of players is Andrei Vasilevski, the starting goaltender for Russia at the 2011-12 World Juniors. While he was there he posted a ‘ho-hum’ .953 save percentage even after a late run of goals by Canada in their round robin match.
Vasilevski falls under the heading of big goaltender and cuts down angles well with his frame. Playing with Tolpar Ufa, his junior club, he posted a solid 2.23 GAA and .931 save percentage. Physically his size is identical to the likes of fellow Russians Ilya Bryzgalov, Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlamov.
Born: July 25, 1994
What people in the know know
[Vasilevskiy] is only 17, but he moves and plays like a 23 or 24-year old. The bravado and confidence seeped from his pores in this game, and he didn’t even look rattled when Canada fought back. In fact, I wouldn’t blame any of what happened in the third period on his ineffectiveness. Until the moment he exited the game, he was impressive.
Vasilevskiy is a terrific athlete with very good biomechanics. His balance points and strong core allow him to seal the ice with a very wide, but very powerful butterfly. This is going to make him look extremely attractive to many NHL teams.
He’s a big guy with excellent size and that helps him cover the net very well. His angles and positional play are excellent and he has very good instincts, reads the game well. He’s a game-winning goalie.
Many fans remember Vasilevski as the Russian goalie who was pulled with six minutes left in his country’s 6-5 win over Canada at the WJC.
But even though he didn’t start the gold medal game, there’s a good chance that Russia would not have made it that far if not for Vasilevski and his mind-boggling .953 save percentage.
Along with Oscar Dansk and Malcolm Subban, Vasilevski is considered a top prospect in goal. “I don’t know how much bettera guy can play at that age, to be honest with you,” said one scout. “I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a Russian guy come along who’s been as good as as he has been.”
He fits the prototype of the big stopper and is regarded as a battler who doesn’t give up any shot. He combines his size with excellent athleticism. The team that drafts him will likely keep him in the KHL for at least two seasons and have a polished product when he reaches the NHL.
This year’s draft is interesting in that there isn’t a truly ‘big name’ goaltender that we’ve seen in years past. In fact, none of the apparent top three — Vasilevski, Dansk and Subban — are locks to go in the first round. NHL goaltending was strong across the board this year and the teams that are truly desperate for goaltending help are drafting too early to reach for one of these players.
Vasilevski is a very talented goaltender and is more than likely the most talented goalie in the draft but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go in the second round.