Carolina Hurricanes Draft Profiles: Yaroslav Askarov

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Tom Dundon (C) of the Carolina Hurricanes attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - JUNE 22: Tom Dundon (C) of the Carolina Hurricanes attends the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 22, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Hurricanes will have a lot of options in the 2020 Draft

Carolina has an incredibly confusing draft scenario, but putting that to one side, who is Yaroslav Askarov and why should Carolina draft him?

Carolina could end up in anyone of like 15 draft scenarios. Either way, there’s an 87.5% chance that the Hurricanes front office will have a pick in this year’s first round. Seeing as it is projected to be the deepest draft since the incredible 2003 draft, it’s important to take advantage of it. On that basis who sticks out that Carolina could take that would help the organization?

Well, when you look at the Canes areas of weakness you see a couple of red flags. Finishing the chances the offense creates its a major issue, but the Canes have a lot of pieces that. So, what’s the other glaring hole? It has to be the crease. We can all appreciate how good the goaltenders have been this year, but improving in the long term is never a bad thing.

With that in mind, who could Carolina take from this draft to add to their young goalie depth? Well, the stand-out goalie in the 2020 NHL entry draft is Yaroslav Askarov. Not only that, but there’s a possibility Carolina could land the Russian shot-stopper. So, how good is Askarov and how can the Carolina Hurricanes get the projected best goalie in the draft?

Starting with the draft scenarios, all it takes is for one of Carolina and Toronto to lose their play-in round. This would put either pick in the 11-15 range, roughly where Askarov is projected to go. With either team having an 87.5% chance of not moving up, it makes it very likely that, should either lose their play-in round, the Canes will have a pick in that area.

So, why is Yaroslav Askarov so highly touted? Well, it’s simple. As a rookie in the Kontinental Hockey League as a 17-year-old, he put up a .920 in the sole game he played, but also in the VHL (the AHL to the KHL) he put up a .920 in 18 games. He’s been putting up great numbers as a teenager in the 2nd best hockey league in the world. It shows his already prospering talent.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that the Omsk, Russia native is a different kind of beast. In some of his draft reports, he’s drawn comparisons to guys like Carey Price (pre-injuries). He’s looking like the most promising goalie prospect.

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His ability to stop pucks so well comes down mainly to his cat-like reflexes. He’s as quick at locating pucks and stopping them as anyone. That is a really helpful attribute for a butterfly based goaltender. He’s always in a position to stop the puck anyway, but his incredible reflexes give him an ability to stop the puck on deflections that other goalies just don’t have.

Askarov’s major criticism is that he posted league average stats in the 2nd tier pro league in Russia. Now, there are 2 rebuttals. One is to say Askarov is 17, the other is to say it’s still a higher tier than those goalies coming out of the North American junior leagues. Now, by no means am I saying Askarov is the next Dominik Hasek, but he’ll be mighty fine.

So, all in all, there’s a strong reason for any team needing a goalie to draft Askarov. For a team like Carolina with such a young core, Askarov would be a nice piece for any young team. His potential is as good as any goalie in the world right now. To me, if he’s available when Carolina draft (unless it’s 1st overall obviously) they should strongly consider the Russian shot-stopper.

Question for Cardiac Cane readers: Who do you think the Canes should draft in the 11-15 range?

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