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2012 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Anton Slepyshev

Anton Slepyshev, LW

Birthplace: Penza, Russia, 5/13/94
Bio: 6’1, 190 lbs., R
Metallurg Novokuznetsk, KHL
Rankings: ISS – 35; CSS – 10 (EU)

The Skinny: The top Russian skater available in 2012, Anton Slepyshev is already contributing in the KHL – will his impressive puck-skills earn him a first-round selection or will the ‘Russian factor’ keep him undrafted ‘til day two?


One of the premier forward talents available this season, Russian winger Anton Slepyshev has already shown his scoring touch in the second-best league in the world, the KHL. After getting off to a hot start, he cooled off significantly in large part due to the minimal ice time he received (under nine minutes a game) but the early offensive outburst mirrors how past top prospects have fared in the KHL.

Slepyshev’s talents with the puck are beyond reproach. His ability to weave through traffic and dangle the puck past opposition defenders are among the best in this class. He protects the puck very well and is only rarely dispossessed.

Once he gets through the opposition he has a wide array of options to score with. His fakes are very deceptive and he can juke effectively at top speed. He’s equally capable finishing with the forehand and backhand and should be a top-level shootout performer when he makes it. In addition, his arsenal of weapons includes a particularly potent one-timer which he’ll willingly use from all angles.

His skating game is very advanced: He’s among the most agile players in 2012 and brings some plus-acceleration to go with his notable top speed. Where he separates himself is his pacing – backing off players then slowing the game down to open lanes or set up one his impressive battery of moves.

Slepyshev possesses a high degree of competitiveness and is frequently driving his team’s offense with impressive effort levels. He’s not exactly ‘gritty’ but rarely gives up on plays.

Scouts want to see increased physicality and work in the ‘dirty’ areas of the ice from the talented Russian. Despite his physical talents, he’ll need to improve in those areas to move up into surefire first-round status.

The biggest concern for potential suitors is his status as a Russian in the KHL. It’s potentially far more lucrative for Slepyshev to remain in Russia than to cross the pond. Because he hasn’t made the commitment to North American hockey, there will always be the worry that he’ll never make the jump to the NHL (or, like Alex Radulov, jump back after a few seasons).

As a result, teams will pass on Slepyshev even if his talents warrant a top-15 or 20 selection – first-round selections are such valuable commodities. Still, for squads willing to roll the dice on him in the late 20s and early second-round, he’s potentially a major steal.

Ideal Fits: Teams who might want to take a chance on an elite forward talent late in the first round or early in the second: Vancouver, Washington, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Phoenix.

Why Your Team Will Take Him: Because he might have one of the top-ten skillsets in this draft; because few players his age have ever scored as he has in Russia’s top league.

Why Your Team Will Pass on Him: Because the promise of big, quick KHL dollars might keep him out of the NHL entirely, because he doesn’t exactly play with a ‘North American’ style.

Strengths: Puck-Handling, Elusiveness, Hands, Shooting, Playmaking, Skating, Offensive Acumen

Weaknesses/Concerns: Physical Game, Consistency, Grit, ‘Russian Factor’, Defensive Game

Projection: First/Second Line Scoring Winger …. or KHL-bound (30g, 60p potential)

Predicted 2012 NHL Draft Range: First/Second Round (24-44)

Overall Rank: 29

Euro Rank: 8

Russia Rank: 1

Forward Rank: 16

Russian National Rank: 3

Bob is the Boston Bruins correspondent for The Hockey Writers and a credentialed member of the Providence Bruins' Media.

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