FanPost

Could Flyers Day 2 Draft picks Shayne Gostisbehere and Valeri Vasiliev be draft sleepers?

The Flyers picked defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in the 3rd round with the 78th overall selection. Later that day the Flyers took defenseman Valeri Vasiliev with the 201st pick in the 7th round. I believe that both of these players could turn into very good NHLers in the future. Both players have very different skill sets that could get them on the Flyers a few years down the road. It's not uncommon for the later rounds of the draft to yield top defensive talent. Since 2002 there have been at least four defenseman selected in the third round or later in the All-Star Game, this includes the Flyers All-Star defenseman Kimmo Timonen who was drafted 250th Overall in 1993.

Shayne Gostisbehere was drafted out of Union College. This past season, in his true freshman year, he helped take Union to the Frozen Four. The player affectionately known as "Ghost" by the Union faithful was named to the ECAC all rookie team after scoring 5 goals and 17 assists in 41 games with the Dutchmen. His efforts got him invited to the United States World Juniors Evaluation Camp, along with first round draft picks Alex Galchenyuk, Jacob Trouba, and Flyers second round pick Anthony Stolarz. Ghost is on the smaller side; he's 5'11 and weighs only 160 lbs, making him one of the lightest players in the draft. He will have to get heavier to play defense in the NHL, but so do most recently drafted players. In recent years Flyers have had good luck when drafting in the third round. In 2010, the Flyers drafted Michael Chaput, and while he's no longer in the organization, he did lead the Memorial Cup in points while helping the Shawinigan Cataractes win the tournament. In 2011, the Flyers drafted Nick Cousins in the third round. Last year Cousins scored 88 points, which was 6th best in the OHL. There is a long list of players in the NHL right now with comparable size and point production after their first college season. San Jose Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle is 5'11, weighs 190 lbs, and went undrafted. He spent four years at Maimi University (the one in Ohio), scoring 26 points as a true freshman. He has been a two time All-Star and has averaged 50 points a season since the Lockout. Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars is 5'11, 180lbs, and only put up 20 points in his freshman year at the University of Minnesota. If the Flyers are lucky Ghost might one day be compared to another defenseman who was picked on the second day of the draft after their true freshman year: Duncan Keith. Keith was drafted out of Michigan State after scoring 15 points in 41 games. While it wouldn't be right to expect a third round draft pick like Gostisbehere to win the Norris Trophy, he could still turn into a player that puts up 35 to 45 points a year, which would be a great outcome from a 3rd round pick.

7th Round pick Valeri Vasiliev is a completely different player. He's bigger than Gostisbehere, standing at 6'1 and weighing just over 200lbs, but that doesn't necessarily make him a big defenseman. He is considerably smaller than defensemen like Braydon Coburn or Nicklas Grossmann, both of whom are 6'4 and over 220lbs. Though he lacks the size of the bigger defensemen he can match their physical presence. Vasiliev is a very physical defenseman; he's known for hitting hard and hitting often. An injury derailed his first season in the Russian minor league which caused him to slide down most teams draft boards. Vasiliev was ranked 16th amongst European skaters at the end of the season. Craig Button of TSN and the NHL Network compares him to San Jose Sharks' Doug Murray who averaged more than 2 hits and blocks per game. Murray is a great defensive defenseman but he is a little bigger than Vasiliev. I think Valeri is more comparable to two other NHL players. One is former Flyers draft pick and current Boston Bruin Dennis Seidenberg. Seidenberg is one of the best small defensive defenseman in the league. He is very physical and, like Vasiliev, was taken late in the draft. The other player I'd compare him to is the Montreal Canadiens Russian defenseman Alexei Emelin. Emelin's name might not be that well known but he was one of the leading hitters in the league last year as a rookie.

Right now Vasiliev doesn't have the best foot speed, but foot speed is one of the easier things for young players to improve. One concern that probably allowed Vasiliev to slip down the draft board was what people at the draft were calling "The Russian Factor". It's the fear that Russian players will either not come to the NHL or leave the league prematurely to play in the KHL. It allowed the 3rd ranked North American skater to fall to the 12th pick in the draft. This fear is especially prevalent with a player like Vasiliev because he decided to play in his minor hockey in Russia instead of the Canadian junior leagues. I don't think it will be a problem getting Vasiliev to play in the NHL. His style of play is better suited and more celebrated in the NHL than in Russia and the Flyers have been the best team in the NHL at getting players from the KHL.

Not a whole lot is expected from players selected in the later rounds, that's why it's a big deal if they develop into quality players in the NHL. If the Flyers make NHLers out of not one but two late round draft picks this could be a very successful draft.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Join Broad Street Hockey

You must be a member of Broad Street Hockey to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Broad Street Hockey. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker