With the 45th overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, the Nashville Predators selected left winger Egor Afanasyev. Get to know him a little better here and read the scouting reports.
Previous season stats:
2018-19 – Muskegon Lumberjacks – USHL
58 games – 27 G – 35 A – 62 PTS – 36 PIM
What the scouts are saying
When Yegor is playing a fast, power forward style game, he has shown the ability to dominate games. Afanasyev has a good top gear and is hard for defenseman to handle once he gets a head of steam. Yegor’s skating mechanics are ok, he lacks some explosiveness in his first few strides but is difficult to handle when he gets to top gear and has pretty good feet that can maneuver well in tight areas of the ice. Yegor can protect the puck well along the wall and below the dots and can create off the cycle by either finding teammates in the offensive zone or driving the puck to the net himself. Yegor has an NHL caliber shot but doesn’t put it in play as much as he maybe should, instead deferring to driving himself and the puck to the net in a lot of situations as he entered the offensive zone. There are some red flags in his two-way game, but it doesn’t come from lack of effort. Afansyev seems to understand his assignment both on the backcheck and in the defensive zone but lacks the foot speed to get there in some instances. He isn’t quick to getting out to the points and his lack of footspeed keeps him from applying back pressure in the transition game. He is crafty with his stick when he gets there and has shown the ability to strip pucks from player in the neutral zone. Afanasyev is the definition of a raw prospect right now, he has a lot of physical tools and is blessed with NHL size and strength which will probably get him into the league at some point, but we believe it will come down to his ability to be more consistent that will determine what his pro upside will be down the road.
Although born in Russia, Afanasyev has now played his hockey in North America for the past three seasons and earlier this season he decommitted from Michigan State, letting it be known that he will follow the lead of the team that drafts him in terms of deciding where to play next season. In other words, there is no “Russian Factor” here.
He is a big, powerful winger with a monster shot from the circles. Although a natural shooter, he is an accomplished playmaker as well and his hand-eye coordination adds another layer to his game. He can play with his back to the net and his solid build from top to bottom allows him to maintain possession and puck control while a defender is draped on his back. When the puck is travelling north, or his team is already in possession, he looks like a potential first rounder. In his own end, he will try, but he is ineffective. He backchecks, but then tends to drift in his own zone after possession has been established.
Further, despite his king-sized frame, he is not a naturally physical player. He has no problem withstanding pressure, but he isn’t there to deliver it. Afanasyev’s skating is also a bit of a sore spot. His top speed is actually pretty solid for a player of his size, but he can take a while to get there. He keeps his feet moving and is solid enough to be the F2 on a rush, but that lack of early steps means he is not a great choice as an outlet option for his defenders. He has middle six upside and maybe more if he can add some dynamism in his feet.