When the Flyers drafted Valeri Vasiliev in the seventh round back in 2012, they were obviously hoping that burning a low value pick would produce a potentially high reward.
As Charlie detailed back in February of last year, Vasiliev was ranked fairly highly by Central Scouting before injuries and worry about his willingness to leave Russia had him drop into the Flyers' lap in the last round of the draft. Considering seventh round picks rarely turn out to be worth anything, it made sense for the Flyers to cast those concerns aside and take a chance on potentially skilled player.
When we last reviewed Vasiliev, he had just recently made the jump from Russia's major junior league to the KHL, where he had established himself as a third pairing, "stay at home" defenseman. The general gist was that even if he was prone to the occasional blunder and wasn't putting up stellar offensive numbers, he was getting ice time as a teenager in a league with some relatively skilled players.
So what has changed since then? Well, his offensive numbers haven't really jumped too much -- he put up 5 points in his 35 KHL games last season -- and it seems that his progression hasn't come along too much. Vasiliev attended the Flyers development camp back in July, and Bill Meltzer (who is always great in terms of prospect reports) had this to say:
He has been in the KHL for two-plus seasons but his ice time and development rate have been sporadic. The player himself said that added strength is a must to play the style that makes him effective. His most recently reported height and weight are 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds. Thus far, he has been a passable young KHL defenseman on a third pairing but not a player who jumps out as a clear candidate for the NHL. Injuries have been an issue, as has lack of opportunity. Going from a strong Avangard Omsk club midway through last season to a much weaker Nizhny Novgorod (his third KHL organization) meant more playing time. He played well in nine games for his new club.
So, yeah, not much has changed since last year. Vasiliev is a serviceable third pairing KHL defenseman, but there's obviously no indication as of now that he'll ever sniff ice time in the NHL. It's hard to expect much more out of a seventh round draft pick, though.
Obviously, the kid deserves a bit more time before any final verdict is given on his overall abilities, but we're probably best at tempering our expectations. Plus, given that the Flyers have a fairly strong pipeline of capable defenseman, I can't imagine he'll be cracking the Flyers roster anytime soon.
Regardless, his potential upside and decent enough professional play are enough to earn him the 25th spot on our list. Here's a video of him scoring a fun little goal at World Juniors back in 2014:
How we voted for Valeri Vasiliev:
Who we voted for at No. 25:
|Christian Marti||Merrick Madsen||Cooper Marody||Samuel Dove-McFalls||Nicolas Aube-Kubel||Felix Sandstrom||Jesper Pettersson||Jesper Pettersson||Merrick Madsen||Felix Sandstrom||Tyrell Goulbourne||Ivan Fedotov|