Yaroslav Askarov could become hockey’s most entertaining goaltender
It was Garbage Time on Daily Faceoff Live, so Steven Ellis took the time to talk about the quality of Yaroslav Askarov and his ability to play in the NHL.
Steven Ellis: So I watched Yaroslav Askarov play since he was around 16, in 2017/2018. I was at the Toronto Marlies/Milwaukee Admirals game, and it was a game that I circled to see Askarov, and it was good to also see Joakim Kemell, who scored the only regulation goal for Milwaukee. But Askarov has got to be one of the funniest keepers I’ve seen in a long time. I know Mike McKenna was very happy to get very aggressive with this check here. It’s a shame we don’t have the other clips from the other saves, because he made a few other fantastic saves in the shootout.
He’s a guy who’s a pleasure to watch. In one of the very first plays of this game, he skated to the blue line to play the puck. No reason, their defenseman was coming, but he’s just a guy who likes to be the center of attention, who likes to have the puck. He fought recently. Everything he’s done this year has been fun to watch. His stats are good, he’s seen some time in the NHL, and he’s becoming this goaltender who, entertainment-wise, Jordan Binnington is very entertaining, but he’s a guy who looks like watching Dominik Hasek up At a certain point, the way he dives for saves, he’s very dramatic on the net, but it works for him. He has the size, he has everything.
I’m very confident that Askarov will win a Vezina Trophy, and I could say maybe even one or two. He’s going to face some amazing goalkeepers, some other good Russian goalkeepers like Vasilevskiy, Shesterkin and Sorokin. I think it’s a fantastic time for top goalkeepers, but he’s going to play a big part in it, and it’s just fun.
If you’re lucky enough to watch it in person, it’s just entertaining. Like, many times he went to play with the puck, and you thought « Why are you doing this? » He dropped his stick, danced everywhere, rolled, stacked pads. If you like old-school goalies, he brings it and he will be a star one day.
Matt Larkins: Of course, and another one coming out of that Russian goalkeeper factory. The question for me is when is he going to be a star, because he’s stuck in Nashville. You have Juuse Saros still under contract, and Kevin Lankinen also just signed an extension, so I wonder when we’ll see Askarov break through. He needs to find his place on their roster, but I don’t doubt his ability.
And I like the idea of it being a throwback. You look at the best goalkeepers in the league today, whether it’s Connor Hellebuyck, Jake Oettinger, Sorokin, Shesterkin, Vasilevskiy, those guys are all calm. They have this icy mentality, and Askarov seems to me like a throwback to Patrick Roy, to Billy Smith, to Ed Belfour, to Dominik Hasek. There was a time in the 80s and 90s when you saw goalkeepers who could bring fire. Of course, Ron Hextall too. So if we could get the goaltender with the big personality back to being an NHL thing, that would be very exciting.
And I’m curious, if you’re looking for Askarov’s arrival date because of what I’m saying, when do you think we’re going to see him establish himself as an NHL regular.
Steven Ellis: So this year it was about getting him the reps because he struggled to even play 20 games for about three years so the fact that he was as good as he has been with this workload is good. Obviously getting up there and signing Lankinen definitely changes things up there a bit, but I think it’s something where Lankinen can be an underrated trade delay deal, especially if the Predators aren’t in the playoffs you can trade it to a team and see what happens there, that contract is really easy to move around.
But I think you still have Saros, you don’t need Askarov sitting on the bench all this time, so you can give him some time. I wouldn’t mind at least the first half of next year if he was in the AHL and then made that move up. But I like what I see, I feel like he could be the replacement next year and I wouldn’t be concerned about his performance, but they don’t need him at the moment.
You can watch the full episode here…