Orenburg 1 @ Ufa Jr. 5
Andrei Vasilevski, Ufa Jr., Win, 21/22, 1.00 GAA, .955 sv%
Season totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 0 SO, 1.00 GAA, .955 sv%
And he's off. First rounder Andrei Vasilevski (pictured) stopped 21 shots as Ufa Jr. slapped Orenburg 5-1. The two teams rematch again tomorrow.
The European regular season will begin tomorrow, 9/1 with matches from the Russian junior league, the MHL, before the big boys start on Tuesday when Dynamo Moscow and Avangard Omsk square off in the KHL. For the Lightning's Russian prospects, their clubs' schedules for the next week are as follows:
9-1-12, Omsk Jr. vs. CSKA Jr. (Gusev)
9-4-12, Orenburg vs. Ufa Jr. (Vasilevski)
9-5-12, Orenburg vs. Ufa Jr. (Vasilevski)
9-5-12, Chelyabinsk Jr. (Nesterov) vs. Novokuznetsk Jr.
9-5-12, Stupino vs. CSKA Jr. (Gusev)
9-6-12, Chelyabinsk Jr. (Nesterov) vs. Novokuznetsk Jr.
9-6-12, Stupino vs. CSKA Jr. (Gusev)
9-6-12, Novosibirsk vs. Yaroslavl (Janus?)
9-6-12, Kazan vs. Cherepovets (Koshechkin)
Note that, as of right now, Nikita Gusev (pictured), Andrei Vasilevski, and Nikita Nesterov are currently listed on their respective clubs' MHL rosters, but are subject to potential call-up to the KHL throughout the year. Vasilevski looks to be locked into the MHL though, with Ufa's top club currently boasting veteran goaltender and former Canadiens draft pick Vadim Tarasov and ex-Syracuse Crunch netminder Iiro Tarkki.
Meanwhile, Yaroslavl may be the landing spot for goaltender Jaroslav Janus, according to reports out of Slovakia. Janus has been playing for KHL newcomer Bratislava during the preseason, but it appears he has been compelled to leave the Slovakian club by Yaroslavl, which holds his KHL draft rights, because the team is thin in net between inexperienced Nikita Lozkhin and their struggles to get Curtis Sanford in their lineup. So, Janus may even find himself playing on an emotional opening night for a Yaroslavl club he hasn't even played a preseason game behind. Recall a year ago that Yaroslavl's team perished in a tragic plane crash that led to the team pulling out of participating in the KHL last year.
Canada 1 vs Russia 0 (OT)
After Team Canada won 4-2 in regulation in Halifax on Tuesday night to knot the four-game series at two wins apiece, both teams began a special overtime session in hopes of a series-deciding victory. The Canadians, the distinct aggressors throughout much of the three periods played previously that night, kept pressing their Russian counterparts and were rewarded with the clinching goal just a few minutes into sudden-death. On the play, Canada's Ty Rattie managed to keep the puck in Russia's end, which led to Ryan Strome getting the puck on his stick near the top of the left face-off circle, where he didn't waste any time using some crafty stick-work to make his way to a better angle in the high slot where, with a quick release, he fired a wrist shot that found its mark past Vasilevski.
Canada 4 @ Russia 2
The final game in the exhibition series took place in Halifax last night and ended in a decisive victory for Team Canada. Although Game 4 got off to a similar start to the night before with Russia taking two early leads despite finding themselves mostly hemmed in their own zone or conceding possession for changes and setting up defensively at even-strength. The Canadians finally took the lead (their first since Game 1 of the series), though, nearly midway through the second period and they never relented. Team Russia did manage to generate some quality scoring chances but could not muster a much-needed goal before the game slipped away for good late in the final period. It did help that the Russian coaching staff opted, until just a handful of minutes remained, to keep its team passive and structured in the neutral zone in an apparent attempt to conserve their young squad's energy. For much of the time they trailed, Russia seemed content to try and mount a comeback with selective counterattacks and opportunistic play and, failing that, to try and decide the series in overtime.
Russia 6 @ Canada 5
The third installment in the commemorative exhibition series was played tonight in Halifax, with the Russians, after a convincing victory in Yaroslavl last Friday, just squeaking past Team Canada 6-5. To Russia's credit, they never trailed, but Canada carried the play for most of the game and may have deserved a better fate. Truth be told, Laurent Brossoit's poor showing (6 GA on just 27 SOG) in net for the Canada was probably the difference as the Russians got an alternately superb and suspect effort from Andrey Makarov who stopped 37 of 42 shots in his second straight start.
Russia 6 @ Canada 3
For the second time in as many days, two teams studded with juniors stars battled on ice in Yaroslavl. The Russians avenged their narrow defeat yesterday by thumping the Canadian squad 6-3 in what was the second match of the Canada-Russia Challenge. Canada made the game close twice but the Russia, much more aggressive, able to maintain possession and in control of the pace for much of the game, put the game out of reach in the third. The Russians were good but the Canadians, between lapses in positioning, miscues and too many trips to the penalty box, were equal parts sloppy today.
Canada 3 @ Russia 2
An All-Star team of Canadian juniors defeated a similar group of Russian juniors 3-2 today in Game 1 of the four-game Canada-Russia Challenge. Three Lightning prospects played in the match, including new prospects Andrei Vasilevski – a first round pick of Tampa Bay in June – and recent free agent signee Artem Sergeev. Vasilevski allowed three goals – all in the second period – including a wrist shot by likely 2013 top-10 pick Sean Monahan. According to the TSN Radio broadcast, Vasilevski (pictured at the Lightning's prospect camp) came up with several big saves in the third period to keep Russia in the game at 3-1, then 3-2. Nail Yakupov, the top pick in the 2012 draft, scored on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period to cut Canada’s lead to one goal. The Oilers pick one-timed a shot from the circle off of a feed from Sergeev. Nesterov also saw power play time for Russia.
The game-winning goal was scored by Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton, who’s shot from the point got by a screened Vasilevski.
Cody Nickolet, a WHL reporter, singled out Sergeev and Nesterov as having impressive games. He said Vasilevski was good, but “could have had a couple of those goals” and was outplayed by Canada’s Malcolm Subban (Bruins) in the game.
Brendan Ross of Dobber Prospects and The Hockey Writers said Vasilevski had an average showing and consistency remains an issue for the first goalie taken in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
The game was played in Yaroslavl, site of last year’s deadly airline crash that killed 44 players and coaches from Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the KHL. Friday’s Game 2 will also be played in Yaroslavl before Games 3 and 4 are held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next week.
The series is being played as a tribute to the Lokomotiv club. It also marks the 40th anniversary of the famed Canada-Russia Summit Series of 1972. Lightning founder Phil Esposito, a member of Canada’s ’72 squad, is reportedly on the trip with Team Canada this year.
(Eric DuBose photo)
Lightning prospect followers expected one high profile Tampa Bay draftee to be selected in today's Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, but not two.
Andrei Vasilevski, the Lightning's second first round selection (19th overall) in last week's NHL Entry Draft, is reportedly trying to buy out his contract with Ufa of the KHL to play Canadian junior hockey. As of early Wednesday morning, the Lightning said there was no news regarding Vasilevski, and after several teams took goaltenders in the first round, it appeared his situation with Ufa was far from settled.
While the Valisevski watch was in full effect, Nikita Kucherov, last year's second round pick out of CSKA in Russia, was taken by Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts. The Remparts may lose former Kucherov linemate and Sabres 2012 first round pick Mikhail Grigorenko to the NHL next year and Kucherov would provide instant offense for Roy's roster. There is also a possibility they are reunited in Quebec City. Roy said Tuesday that the Sabres were non-committal to Grigorenko's immediate NHL future, so it is still possible he could return to Quebec.
Kucherov spent most of last year with CSKA's junior team, where he racked up 24 goals and 41 points in just 23 games. He also had seven points in seven games at the World Junior Championships. He was able to get in 18 games at the professional level with CSKA's KHL side, but only managed a goal and five points in limited action. His selection was surprising to many prospect followers as Kucherov is expected to challenge for more games in the KHL this year. However, initial reports on Twitter from a sports.ru reporter said Kucherov was coming to North America. Roy, who has to secure Kucherov's release from CSKA, is already talking about where Kucherov could fit in his lineup.
Should Kucherov join the wide-open QMJHL, he could very well top 120 points next season.
Quebec chose Kucherov with the 43rd pick in the Import Draft, near the bottom of the first of the two round draft.
Vasilevski ended up a second round selection as the newly-renamed Mississauga Steelheads took him with pick number 69.
Mississauga lost last year's No.1 goalie and Vasilevski could make his path to the NHL a lot clearer by joining the Steelheads in the Ontario Hockey League. It's worth a shot for Mississauga, who is no doubt hoping the off-the-ice situation can be settled shortly.
When and how do you judge a trade or draft pick?
Earlier this week I tweeted from Bolt Prospects that it was the 10-year anniversary of then Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster sending the fourth overall pick to Philadelphia for a young forward Tampa Bay thought had some upside and two second round picks. At the time, jaws hit the floor from Nanaimo to Naples. I was standing on the line that divided my living room from my dining room and saw the trade go across the ticker on what I believe was ESPN-2. Yes, I remember exactly where I was standing when I saw the news.
* U18 WJC Bronze Medal
* U20 WJC Silver Medal
Vasilevskiy is a product of the Tolpar Ufa system, where after playing in the lower junior ranks he was selected to Russia's 2010 U18 World Junior Championships team. He posted a 2.65 GAA and .897 save percentage in the tournament, but Russia did not medal.
In 2010-2011, Vasilevskiy took over as the co-starter for Ufa's MHL team, posting a 1.81 GAA and .937 save percentage in 14 games. Won bronze with the Russians at the 2011 U18 World Junior Championships after posting a 2.62 GAA and .936 save percentage in 6 games. At the conclusion of the season, he was drafted by parent club Ufa with their 1st round pick, 7th overall, in the KHL Draft.
Became the full-time starter for Ufa's MHL team and shined with a 2.23 GAA and .923 save percentage in 27 games. Named the starter for Russia's U20 World Junior Championship team despite being underage and performed well with a 2.01 GAA and .953 save percentage in 5 games, although he was pulled in Russia's upset win over Canada. Russia went on to win Silver in the tournament. Later selected for a third U18 World Junior Championships. Russia did not medal, but Vasilevskiy had a solid 2.20 GAA and .922 save percentage in 5 games. Finished the season ranked the #1 European goaltender by the NHL Central Scouting Service and was selected in the 1st round, 19th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"Vasilevskiy has a big frame and covers the net really well. Impressive mobility and quickness. A technically skilled goaltender as well. Consistent." (EP 2012)
"That rare netminder who is a game-changer. Huge and highly athletic for his size. Stunningly calm under huge pressure - underage goalies who excel at World Juniors are unheard of. Plays with an economy of motion - lets the play come to him. Impossible to beat down low with long legs that cover post-to-post. Terrific using pads to angle shots to corners. Gets great lateral push off either skate. Tough to beat up high even when down in butterfly - has the presence to keep his shoulders up and take away top corners. Has quick feet, a crisp glove, excellent flexibility, and is good on rebound control. Recovers quickly to get into position for second chances. Strong pads with holding the post to prevent opposition from wrap-arounds. Gets back to deep in net and loses his angles - needs to stay at top of crease. Poor puckhandler around net - shouldn't even attempt it.
Projection: #1 goalie for a playoff caliber club.
Style compares to: Carey Price" (Red Line Report)
"Andrei plays with a combination of skill, sense and poise. There doesn't seem to be any situation in the game that rattles him. His size makes him imposing but his ability to read the play and move to advantageous position can intimidate shooters. He is an excellent skater; agility, side-to-side mobility, quickness and strength in his legs allows him to meet the challenges that all goaltenders face. He does not show you a repeated style but will react to the situation and play it accordingly which is another challenge for shooters in trying to get the better of him. Technically, he is sound and doesn't lose positioning when he moves and he has the ability to arrive at the spot to make save in good position, not a vulnerable one. He reads the play so well and has excellent skill and he moves with an economy that makes it appear effortless but it begins with excellent mental focus and allows him to remain a 'step ahead' of the play. He is dependable, consistent and timely which are important traits of successful goaltenders." (Craig Button, TSN)
Big, quick, and athletic, but also very calm in nets with an economy of movement. Good glove hand and excellent rebound control for such a young player.
Like many young goaltenders, can tend to play too deep in his crease. Not a strong puckhandler. Developmental situation in Russia is questionable and will always be a flight risk to the KHL whenever he does come to North America, ie "the Russian factor." Latest reports state he plans on coming to North America for the 2013-2014 season. OHL Mississauga holds his junior rights, though he could play in the AHL if the Lightning so desire.
|2009-2010||Salavat Yulaev Ufa U16||Russia U16||26||-||-||||
|Salavat Yulaev Ufa U16||Russia U16 Finals||5||-||-||||
|Russia U16 (all)||International-Jr||3||-||-||||
|2010-2011||Salavat Yulaev Ufa U17||Russia U17||16||-||-||||
|Salavat Yulaev Ufa U17||Russia U17 Finals||5||-||-||||
|Russia U18||Hlinka Memorial||4||3.14||.906||||
|Russia U18 |WJAC-19|||WJAC-19||3||3.29||.926||||
|2012-2013||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||KHL||8||2.22||.924|||||Playoffs||0||-||-|
|Russian Selects U20||Jr Super Series||3||3.01||.904||||
|Russia U20||CAN-RUS Challenge||2||3.42||-||||
|2013-2014||Salavat Yulaev Ufa||KHL||28||2.21||.923|||||Playoffs||18||1.99||.934|
|2014-2015||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||16||2.36||.918|||||Playoffs||4||3.19||.895|
|2015-2016||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||24||2.76||.910|||||Playoffs||8||2.76||.925|
|2016-2017||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||24||2.93||.906||||
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