If anyone needed a reminder of just how good Yaroslav Askarov is, he provided it today. The top 2020 draft-eligible goaltender posted his first KHL shutout when he blanked Spartak by stopping all 33 shots he faced (including a penalty shot). Askarov only turned 18 a few months ago but is already turning heads at the highest level in Russia, raising expectations even further as he heads into the draft next month.
A consensus first-round pick, the young goaltender is signed through the 2021-22 season with SKA St. Petersburg but is a potential franchise starter for a team willing to take the chance on him in a few weeks. How high he climbs that board is unclear, though Spencer Knight’s selection at #13 last year may show that teams are now a little less hesitant to spend big on goaltending at the draft.
- The Philadelphia Flyers have loaned Linus Hogberg to HC Vita Hasten of the Swedish second league, keeping him overseas once again. Drafted in 2016, Hogberg’s rights would have expired had he not signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers before June 1 of this year. He ended up inking his two-year deal on May 30, but will be staying in Sweden for the time being. The 22-year-old defenseman has played four full seasons in the SHL, scoring 14 points in 50 games in 2019-20.
- Just a few days ago Graham McPhee signed a one-year AHL contract with the Bakersfield Condors, but now he’s suiting up for Vienna in the Austrian pro league. The son of Vegas Golden Knights executive George McPhee, the 22-year-old forward actually became an unrestricted free agent when the Edmonton Oilers decided not to sign him to an entry-level deal last month. After four years at Boston College, the fifth-round pick will have to work his way up the professional hockey ladder, starting in Europe for now.