Last season we introduced our Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for their recent contributions on the ice.
While Cory Conacher  won nearly every AHL award in which he was eligible last year, plus a Calder Cup, we’re fairly certain he’s got a printed copy of his Bolt Prospects Prospect of the Week write-ups stashed in his hockey bag to remind him what can come from dedication and hard work. In the paraphrased words of Ron Burgundy, we don’t know how to put this, but this award is a kind of a big deal.
Now, whether or not the award smells of rich mahogany is up for debate, but we like it regardless.
At any rate, this week’s BP Prospect of the Week award – the first of the season – goes to … Andrei Vasilevski, goaltender, Ufa Jr. (MHL - Russia).
We named Vasilevski the Lightning organization’s top prospect after the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, in which the big Russian was the 19th overall pick and first goalie off the board. The Mississauga Steelheads took him in the CHL Import Draft the following week, but he couldn’t come to terms with the Ontario Hockey League club despite an aggressive effort by the organization.
Vasilevski remained with the Ufa program in Russia and already has 10 games under his belt for their junior/MHL club – and he’s won nine of them. Plus, the one he lost was a 1-0 decision to Nizhnekamsk Jr. – a team he shut out the day before, 5-0. In his last game on September 23, he backstopped Ufa Jr. to a 3-1 win over Perm Jr., making 26 saves in the process.
For the year, Vasilevski has a 1.60 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. Last year he had a 2.23 GAA with a .931 save percentage for Ufa Jr.
Vasilevski projects as a No. 1 NHL netminder in the future due to his athleticism, competitiveness, and ideal size (6’3”). It could be a year or two before the Lightning are able to bring him to North America, but they believe he’ll be worth the wait. We do, too.
(Eric DuBose photo)