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Flyers Top 25 Under 25: Radel Fazleev jumps 7 spots to No. 18 in the ranking

Fazleev jumps seven spots from last year's rankings.

Derek Leung/Getty Images

It's terrifying coming into a strange environment, not being able to speak the language or being able to communicate your thoughts and emotions with the people around you. What's even more terrifying is being thrust into that strange environment and knowing that your success depends on your assimilation.

Fazleev, according to his observable progress, is making the most of that assimilation. When he arrived, he barely knew English. He's learned the language, he's learned the culture, and he's getting better with every game.

18. Radel Fazleev

Position: Forward (Left Wing)
Birthdate: January 7, 1996 (19)
Acquired Via: 2014 NHL Draft - Round 6, Pick 168
2014-15 Team/League: Calgary, WHL - 18 G, 33 A in 71 GP
Nationality: Russian (Kazan)
Size: 6'1", 188
Contract Status: Signed to entry-level contract through 2018 (potentially slide-eligible through 2019)
Ranking in August 2014 25 Under 25: 25

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See the full collection of Top 25 Under 25 player profiles here.

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If you can't remember exactly when Fazleev was drafted, just think back to one of those times you thought "Wait, they drafted a Russian? The Flyers? Are you sure? The Philadelphia Flyers?" Okay, I'm kidding. The Flyers aren't really outside the league norm in their drafting of Russia players, despite the fact that Fazleev is one of only seven Russians drafted by the Flyers in the last decade.

Fazleev, teammate of the highly touted Travis Sanheim, spent last season playing for his WHL team, the Calgary Hitmen. Playing 71 games, Fazleev tallied 18 goals and 33 assists for a combined 51 points, good enough for sixth in scoring on the team

In a wonderful piece by the dear departed-for-TSN Frank Seravalli, we get a glimpse into Fazleev's usage in Calgary (I highly suggest you read entire thing--it's great):

It's hard not to notice Fazleev on the ice for the Hitmen. He plays in just about every situation - second-unit power play and penalty kill - he has a strong nose for the net and he digs relentlessly for pucks on the boards.

Seravalli goes on to explain that Fazleev was picking up about 18 to 19 minutes a night.

Despite being a late round pick, Fazleev is highly skilled and his play-making abilities are impressive, albeit still rough around the edges. I watched a bunch of his highlights, and his assists are pretty dang beautiful. According to scouts, his play along the boards is good, and his physicality is quite literally a strength, despite the fact that he isn't exceptionally big the way power forwards usually are. Further developing his stick-handling and taking advantage of his creativity with the puck will bolster his chances of eventually becoming a contributing member of the Flyers.

The area of his game that demands the most improvement is his skating. Were he to add more speed and a more explosive step to his game, Fazleev would be higher on list, I believe, because it would only help in his goal-scoring. In possibly his last year of CHL availability, the Flyers probably hope to see Fazleev make strides in his quickness.

Also, as if you need more proof that Fazleev is cool, here's his incredible celly after scoring the Teddy Bear Toss goal for the Hitmen last December.

Just stunning. Michael Jackson would be proud.

Fazleev signed an ELC before the summer began, so that's one small step forward for him as far as making it to the NHL. He has a lot of work to do, but he has more than enough time to do so. With a few more years at the junior and AHL level, Fazleev could develop into a nice little late round steal for the Flyers.

How we voted for Radel Fazleev:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
16 16 20 19 15 18 16 24 17 10 18 19

Who we voted for at No. 18:

Al Allison Andrew Charlie Collin Kelly Kevin Kurt Mary Meseret Ryan Travis
Oskar Lindblom Christian Marti Mark Friedman Mark Alt David Kase Radel Fazleev David Kase Mark Alt Mark Friedman Ivan Fedotov Radel Fazleev Matej Tomek

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