Red Wings: Yaroslav Askarov at four would be shocking but not surprising

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Red Wings want to make a shocking pick once again, selecting goaltender Yaroslav Askarov at fourth overall is the selection to make.

The Detroit Red Wings made a shocking first-round selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, but they could do this once again in the 2020 Entry Draft. After the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery, the feeling from fans was that it was rigged and the lost chance on Alexis Lafrenière.

Rather than continue to keep the sour taste in the mouths of fans, it has been time to realize that the organization is still going to come away with one of the top talents in a top-heavy draft class.

However, could Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman shock the world and select goaltender Yaroslav Askarov with the fourth overall pick? This may sound insane to most, but there is an argument to be made about the Red Wings going rogue.

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Initially, the glaringly obvious issue is that taking a goaltender that high in the first round could be considered blasphemous for any team, let alone the Red Wings.

The last time a goaltender was taken fourth overall or higher was in 2003 when Pittsburgh selected Marc-Andre Fleury first overall.

Askarov is far and alone the best goaltender in this draft, but is he worth the risk of spending the fourth overall pick on him? Scouts think so.

The 18-year old netminder has shown at a young age that he has the potential to be a future top-tier caliber goaltender for an NHL organization. Askarov is a 6-foot-3, 176-pound goalie who thrives in the butterfly and uses his shiftiness to square up pucks and make saves.

In Russia’s second-best league, the VHL, Askarov played for SKA-Neva St. Petersburg, where he played 18 games, posting a 2.45 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage while performing incredibly well as a young goaltender.

Askarov has a track record for advancing to high levels at a young age, allowing him to develop a strong mental game and grow his game while playing against high talent. The bottom line is, Askarov is going to be a top-flight goaltender and most likely one of the highest selected goaltenders in recent years.

Taking Yaroslav Askarov at fourth should be given some thought by the Red Wings front office and Steve Yzerman.

For those who are well in-tune with the Detroit Red Wings prospect foundation, the area of goaltending does not look like it is going to be the prettiest. The top prospect in the running was Filip Larsson, who has not looked to be the same goalie he was at the University of Denver.

The hope for the Red Wings goaltending using an in-house solution would be Carter Gylander, who is still quite young and a long way from getting into the NHL, or even AHL, for that matter. Gylander is impressive and will be a future prospect to keep an eye on, but still has a long road ahead of him.

Bringing in Askarov would be similar to bringing in a future number one goalie who scouts feel has the chance to be a Vezina candidate. Look at the Tampa Bay Lightning; in 2012, they spent the 19th overall draft choice on Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has become their steady netminder.

Could Yzerman take a page out of his playbook with the Lightning by selecting Askarov at fourth? The idea does not sound as crazy given the way scouts have valued the Russian netminder and given Yzerman’s past architecture in Tampa Bay.

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So when the 2020 NHL Entry Draft rolls around, it would be a pleasant surprise if the organization pulls a shocking move and selects Yaroslav Askarov with the fourth overall pick.