Yaroslav Askarov made history on Tuesday night in the NHL Draft, when he went 11th overall to the Nashville Predators. He became the highest drafted Russian goalie in NHL history.

Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy previously held the honor as the highest drafted Russian goalie, as he was taken 19th overall by the Lightning back in 2012.

Askarov has the chance to be a difference maker down the road for the Nashville Predators. Standing at 6 foot 3 inches and 175 pounds, he has the size to become a great goalie in the NHL. Along with the size, Askarov has proven to be incredibly athletic, as he has already been compared to Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick.

"Askarov is an elite, elite prospect," Predators assistant general manager Jeff Kealty said. "The talent level and the athleticism stands out right away.”

The Russian is somewhat of a unique goalie since he catches right handed, but that should not affect him too much in the NHL. He will fill a hole that is imminent in Nashville’s lineup, as Pekka Rinne turns 38 on November 3rd and does not have much left in the tank.

The Predators will hope to pair him with Juuse Saros for their goaltending tandem of the future. Askarov is currently under contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL through 2020-21, and went 12-3-3 with a 2.45 GAA and .920 SV% in Russia’s minor league last season. He only played 3 games in the KHL, but owned a record of 2-1-0 with a 0.74 GAA along with a .974 SV%, which shows he can play with the big boys.

"I feel joy and happiness, and still can't understand what just happened," Askarov said after the Predators chose him in the first round. "Every kid has dreams and goals, and I was one of them."
OCTOBER 7, 2020  (17H37)