Getting to know Radel Fazleev, the Flyers' sixth-round draft pick

Marissa Baecker -- Getty Images

The Flyers drafted a Russian player! Weird! Let's learn about him.

The Flyers' sixth-round pick, Radel Fazleev, comes from the same junior team as their first-round pick, Travis Sanheim. Last year was Fazleev's first year with the Calgary Hitmen, the year after he was selected in the first round of the KHL Draft.

That's right -- the Flyers went for a Russian prospect in the draft. Crazy times we live in.

Background

Date of Birth: January 7, 1996
Primary Team, 2013-14: Calgary Hitmen, WHL
Nationality: Russian (Kazan)
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 176

Statistical Profile

Estimated TOI/60 GF% GF% Rel Estimated QoC TOI% Estimated P/60 (total) Estimated P/60 (ES)
17.3 (37) 46.5% (6) - 14.5% (185) 28.3% (113) 2.3 (70) 1.4 (147)

(Numbers in parentheses are ranks in said statistic among all 213 draft-eligible CHL forwards for the 2013-14 season. All numbers in the table above via Extra Skater.)

Rankings And Opinions

ISS: 172 (43rd among centers)

Skill: Talented Russian speedster with good offensive tools and strong creative scoring abilities.

Scouting Report: There is no denying the talent that Fazleyev possesses. He is a good skater with good straight line speed and good quick hands which allow him to be a dangerous one on one player. He lacks power in his game and isn't always able to win space or push his way into contested scoring areas, but when given space to execute, he is more than capable of making opponents pay for their mistakes. Fazleyev shies away from the rough play a little too often and can disappear if pressured aggressively early in games. He has shown a bit of a temper at times as well and it has caused too much opportunity for opposing teams to neutralize his talent too easily.

ISS Scout R.MacLean: "He still has plenty of room to mature and get stronger/tougher, his technical skills are strong and skill is a highly coveted commodity".

ISS Scout S.Cocker: "Flashes of puck dominance and creativity at U18 Worlds however unable to consistently be a threat. Utilizes his speed and separation quickness to get a jump on the opposition".

NHL Potential: Has offensive potential and could end up as a powerplay specialist.

Corey Pronman, ESPN (Insider, $): 232

Radel Fazleev was intriguing as a 16-year-old, but I wasn't crazy about his draft season. He has good vision and can flash skill, but I don't think his puck skills or skating are that impressive, especially with a mediocre frame.

EliteProspects:

A creative playmaker with some raw but impressive tools. His skating while effective at the junior level could use some improvements. He battles along the wall and finishes his hits. His shot is strong and he has good touch around the net. His game is pretty inconsistent from shift-to-shift at this time.

Summary

It sounds like it's been an up and down couple of seasons for Fazleev, who saw his stock drop early on in the year only to see it bounce back a bit thanks to a strong end-of-year playoff showing with Calgary. He suffered a broken wrist about halfway through last season (the fifth time he's injured that hand), only to come back in time for the playoffs and play some of his best hockey of the year, helping get him an invite to the Russian WJC under-18 team.

As with a number of these guys we've talked about, there is some level of disagreement on Fazleev's specific talents. There are slightly varying evaluations of his speed and skating, how engaged he is physically, and how creative he is with the puck.

There are knocks on his consistency. And his scoring profile, at least at 5-on-5, isn't particularly impressive -- though things look markedly better if you include his power play scoring numbers, which lends some credence to the idea that he's a player who's able to take advantage when he's got some space around him to operate.

Did he fall off a bit because of his injury? It's quite possible. Is he fully recovered from that, and if so, will we see his level of play jump this year? We'll find out soon enough. He's still very raw, and it'll take time for a lot of the skills he's got to truly round into form.

Fit with the Flyers

Generally speaking, we're all in agreement that the Flyers know what they're doing when it comes to centers, and we'll have to hope Fazleev isn't an exception. He maybe doesn't fit the typical Flyers center profile at first glance, but he's a skill-oriented player who can make plays, and can play a full 200-foot game. Sounds good to me, and it sounds like it fits in with the general theme of players Ron Hextall brought on in this draft.

With Fazleev having been taken in the first round of the KHL Draft last year, the risk of him staying over there will obviously linger, but that's a risk worth taking on a sixth-round pick who's shown some talent and ultimately looks like he fits the mold of a successful forward.

The Flyers will probably be making a number of trips out to Calgary this year, and though Travis Sanheim will probably be their main point of focus, we can imagine that they'll have someone keeping an eye on Fazleev in the process. They'll be watching to see how his skating and offense progress, and if he takes the steps forward that he needs to, then maybe the Flyers will have another good young center in the pipeline.

To close it out, here's a video of him taking a pass in the neutral zone and setting up a teammate for a goal at U18 WJCs.

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