Exceptionally gifted, right-catching netminder. Fierce lateral movement and lightning-quick reaction time. Owns the size and composure needed to be a potential Vezina-level talent.
Click to Expand
October 2020 – Askarov was drafted 11th overall by the Predators. Askarov is expected to spend another two years in Russia but could push for an NHL job in 2022-2023. Jokke Nevalainen
September 2020 – The 18-year-old has elevated to the KHL and appears no worse for wear. In fact, he’s been the top goaltender in the entire league through the opening two weeks of the season. Askarov has stopped 76 of 78 shots over three contests – including a 32-save shutout. His .974 save percentage is tops for starters. I repeat, he’s 18! You don’t use lottery picks on goaltenders. That is, of course, unless they’re truly special. This kid is special. Cam Robinson
June 2020 – Askarov is prepped and ready to be the first netminder selected in the top-10 since Carey Price went fifth overall 15 years ago. The 6’3 Russian was very good in the VHL – Russia’s second-tier pro league, going 12-3-3 while posting a .920 save percentage. Some will point out that the league average in the V is around .920 and I would counter by saying we NEVER see 17-year-old goaltenders suit up in that league, so beat it. Askarov presents the entire buffet of attributes needed to be a serious starter in the NHL. His wait time should likely be a smidge less than normal, assuming he lands in a spot that needs help in the crease. We don’t often recommend placing too much value in the crease position when it comes to youngsters, but this kid will challenge that notion. Cam Robinson
February 2020 – Askarov had a bad performance at the World Juniors but he has had a great season in the VHL which is the second-highest men’s league in Russia. It is also good to remember that when Askarov played against his age group at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he was almost unbeatable. One bad tournament should not wipe away everything else he has done. Everything still points towards Askarov becoming a top 10 or at least a top 15 draft pick. Jokke Nevalainen
July 2019 – At age 16, Askarov played as a starting goalie both for SKA-Varyagi in the MHL and for Russia U18. He was spectacular throughout the season, and he is arguably the best Russian goalie prospect since Andrei Vasilevsky. Askarov has posted a .921 save percentage in 31 games in the MHL, and also .948 and .916 at WJC-U17 and WJC-U18 respectively. After a great performance at the U18 Worlds, he is a potential lottery pick for the 2020 NHL Draft. Next season, he is going to battle for a starter position in the VHL and may also debut in the KHL at some point of the season. It’s safe to name him as a starting goalie for Russia at the U18 Worlds next year, and he could also make the Russian roster for the U20 World Juniors. Askarov’s toolset provides all you want to see in goalie. With his big 6-foot-3 frame, he covers a lot of net. He has amazing reflexes and is mentally strong. In addition to this, Askarov is right-handed which is rare for NHL goalies. Plays butterfly style rather than stand-up. Askarov doesn’t tend to aggressively come out from the net and he could play the puck more consistently. However, he isn’t afraid of that and should be able to fix it later on. Although Askarov may become a top-15 pick, as a goalie prospect, he is projected to be at least two or three years away from the NHL after the draft. However, he is very likely to develop into a franchise goalie and may someday contend for the Vezina Trophy for the team that takes a gamble on him. Sergei Kuzin