Not the flashiest player, but a good one nonetheless.
At No. 18 on the board, we look at another winger in Sasha Pastujov, who’s puck handling and passing make him an intriguing prospect.
He’ll be a freshman this fall at the University of Notre Dame, but this year he was well over a point per game in the USHL and with the US National Development Program. His playmaking not only produces assists, but it creates goals for himself.
BSH 2021 Community Draft Board, No. 17: Sasha Pastujov
Team: US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
Stats: 10 G, 16 A in 18 GP (USHL), 30 G, 35A in 41 GP (USDP)
No. 18 (NA skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 29 by TSN/McKenzie
No. 24 by The Puck Authority
No. 14 by Wheeler/The Athletic
What’s there to like?
Playmaking is the name of the game for Pastujov, but there’s so much more to the 17-year-old’s game. Despite standing just 6’0” and weighing in at 183 lbs, Pastujov excels at puck protection and being an absolute pest on the forecheck. It’s one of the oldest cliches in the book, but he’s got an active stick. His ability to use his body to shield the puck while simultaneously spot the open forward darting to the net cannot be understated.
And although his playmaking might be what teams and analysts focus on the most, his shot is nothing to slouch at. He has legit finishing ability and isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas. He’ll drive the net and shoot from seemingly anywhere, forcing the defense and the goaltender to do their jobs and get the puck out.
Despite the knocks we’ll eventually get to on his skating, Pastujov is strong on his skates and isn’t easily knocked down. He seems to have a good variety of power moves at his disposal which at times make up for his lack of raw speed or acceleration. There’s obviously the worry about if he can carry that into the NHL against the best in the world, but this guy is simply a smart hockey player, and I like his chances.
If he can’t overpower you, he’ll beat you with his creativity. The puck seems to be on a string when he’s got it, case in point by this goal he scored vs. Finland (first clip of video).
What’s not to like?
Skating is the major concern for most when it comes to Pastujov, and to be fair it makes sense. He’s certainly not going to blow anyone away with his speed, or even come close really. Beating players to the outside isn’t going to be common with him, but it’s not necessarily impossible.
The worry here of course is with the NHL game seemingly only getting faster and faster, will his skillset be able to translate? He has the other necessary skills to be a successful NHL player, but some work on his skating will surely be required before he cracks a roster.
Scott Wheeler of The Athletic said this about Pastujov’s skating in his draft rankings article:
I think Pastujov’s a little misunderstood. Some scouts see mediocre acceleration and top speed and worry about his ceiling. I see an inventive playmaker who can do a lot with the puck and produced at an extremely high rate as the program’s most dangerous offensive player when Lucius was out. He’s got excellent touch, regularly pulling pucks through feet and sticks and into space. But he also mixes in fakes and stutter-steps to create transition separation or go inside-out on defenders.
How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?
Much like Nikita Chibrikov yesterday, winger isn’t exactly a pressing need for this team, but this kid could be a relative steal if he improves his skating.
One might think the last thing this Flyers team needs is another pass-first forward, but I’m not sure Pastujov is exactly that? His passing is great no doubt, along with his vision, but he’s certainly not afraid to shoot the puck. In watching film, he lined up in a shooters’ position consistently on power plays, and at even strength he showed zero signs of being a player to pass up the open shot.
Could the Flyers actually get him?
It sure seems like they could. Obviously once we get past the first five or so picks in most drafts things can change dramatically in an instant, but I digress. It seems Pastujov is going mid 20’s in most mock drafts, even Wheeler’s who had him as his 14th ranked prospect. Pastujov would be much like an Oskar Lindblom type player if I had to compare to a member of the current team, which is no doubt a good thing. He’s a smart player with some serious puck protection skills at a young age, and an underrated shot to boot.
We’ll also make one addition to the poll:
Logan Stankoven— C, Kamloops (WHL)
Stankoven has been successful between the WHL and international levels the last two seasons. Stankoven’s game has a high level of pace due to his compete. He creates chances by pressuring turnovers and winning puck battles, despite being 5-foot-8. His skating is more elusive than fast and while he’s a good skater he doesn’t have a great top gear for a small player. He has very quick hands, showing the ability to beat defenders one-on-one, and control pucks in tight at a high level. Stankoven has a great wrist shot and projects to be able to beat NHL goalies from range. He can make some plays, but his game is more direct as opposed to being a cerebral playmaker. In a sentence, Stankoven projects as a middle-six forward, likely on the wing in the NHL. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic
2021 BSH Community Draft Board
- Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Brandt Clarke — D, Nove Zamky (Slovakia)
- Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton (WHL)
- William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
- Luke Hughes — D, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Simon Edvinsson — D, Frölunda HC J20 / J20 Nationell – 21/22
- Kent Johnson — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
- Aatu Räty — C, Kärpät U20 and Kärpät (Liiga)
- Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå (SHL)
- Mason McTavish — C, EHC Olten (SL)
- Cole Sillinger — C/LW, Sioux (USHL)
- Chaz Lucius — C, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)
- Fabian Lysell — LW/RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
- Carson Lambos — D, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
- Matthew Coronato — F, Chicago Steel (USHL)
- Nikita Chibrikov — LW/RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL), SKA-Neva St. Petersburg (VHL), SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
- Sasha Pastujov — LW, US NTDP (USHL) and US National U18 (USDP)