The first sight of Yaroslav Askarov playing North American hockey appears to be right on the horizon, as the top prospect has signed a tryout contract with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Askarov is arguably the top goaltending prospect in the world and recently completed his contract in the KHL.
Selected 11th overall in 2020 by the Nashville Predators, the 19-year-old netminder has a mixture of size and incredible athleticism that has routinely received comparisons to other Russian goaltenders like Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy. If he comes even near the height that those two have reached at the NHL level, he’ll have been more than worth his selection near the top of the draft.
The fact that he has signed a contract with Milwaukee is great news for Predators fans, who hope to have Askarov in the organization as soon as possible. He will be eligible to play in the AHL playoffs which start on Friday for the Admirals, though that wouldn’t be the case if he signed his entry-level contract for the rest of 2021-22. He would then be ineligible to be sent to the minors, meaning an ELC starting in 2022-23 will likely follow at some point.
While there is still work to be done on his game–he appeared in just six KHL games this season and has struggled at times in other situations–Askarov’s ceiling is still sky-high, and getting him to North America is a huge step. It seems very likely that he will spend next season in the AHL, starting as many games as possible as Nashville gets to start directly controlling his development.