Prospect Notebook: Pastujov, Askarov, Lucius, & More
Every season, FCHockey’s scouts are scouring the globe to get eyes on hockey’s top prospects.
They spend countless hours watching both live games and game tape to get the best possible analysis on the prospects entering the NHL Draft through their prospect years. Our Prospect Notebook series takes a look at some of the reports that FCHockey’s scouts have filed over the past week.
Here’s a glimpse at their analysis.
RONAN SEELEY | D | Everett (WHL) | March 5, 2022
Draft status: 7/208 (2020) Carolina Hurricanes
Scouting report by Donesh Mazloum
Ronan Seeley was one of my personal favourites out of the West. What felt like a steal then is almost certainly a coup now. Seeley has developed into one of the premier two-way defenseman in the WHL. While the defensive side of the game is his forte, he doesn’t actually spend much time in his own end due to the efficiency in which he deals with deals with pressure. He uses his long stick to slow down and disrupt flow, takes engagements early, and makes quick reads to transition back up ice when possession is regained. Seeley brings intensity to all areas of the ice, and he shows a distinct desire to be in the thick of the action. He’s continued to fill out and add strength since his draft year and is on the winning end of most board battles. With possession, Seeley doesn’t possess a ton of creativity or offensive flair however he skates with his head up and makes the smart play every time. He doesn’t project as a power play option at the next level however he can be relied on to make the right outlet and put pressure back on the opposition. Where most scouts diverge when evaluating Seeley is in his skating abilities. I’ve always been on the side that those skating concerns are overblown. He skates with a very wide track stance and therefore his straight-line forward speed and stride extension are certainly suboptimal. His excellent edgework more than make up for those limitations in my eyes. While his forward stride is a bit clunky, he has no issues when skating backwards. He can stick with any attacker bearing down on him and shows the lateral movement to cover multiple lanes. He plays with shiftiness and has a natural ability to make tight transitions to escape pressure when battling along the wall or retrieving the puck in his own zone. He walks the offensive blue line with dexterity and excels at creating shooting lanes with stutter-steps and shoulder fakes. I still remain bullish on Seeley’s NHL prognostication and I think he will turn into a reliable defenseman at the NHL level.
JOSHUA BLOOM | LW | Saginaw (OHL) | February 26, 2022
Draft status: 3/95 (2021) | Buffalo Sabres
Scouting report by Joseph Aleong
Joshua Bloom is a big forward with above-average skating ability and a heavy shot that he’s not afraid to use from all over the offensive end. His shot comes off his blade with great power and he’s able to release it off-balance, making him a threat to shoot off the rush. Bloom is a versatile forward who drives offense with a high pace of play and volume shooting. His first few strides are solid and he has good open-ice speed, helping him on the PK where he’s one of the OHL’s top shorthanded threats to score. He has long, powerful strides that can create separation in a straight line, making him one of the best transition puck carriers on a young Saginaw team. Bloom uses his large frame well, protecting the puck on the cycle and winning puck battles at both ends. His intensity in his own zone can waver at times, but he shows good instincts and makes impressive reads, even being used on defense for a Spirit team missing several players. His high-energy style can lead to him being overzealous on the forecheck and getting caught up ice. He has the strength to be much more engaged physically, which would help him consistently get to good scoring areas on offense. Bloom is a well-rounded forward but doesn’t show the consistency in generating high-danger chances by himself or physical play that would suggest surefire top-six upside in the NHL. However, his great shot and impact on the PK could make him a valuable supporting piece in a bottom-six role eventually.
YAROSLAV ASKAROV | G | SKA St. Petersburg (MHL) | February 26, 2022
Draft status: 1/11 (2020) | Nashville Predators
Scouting report by David Di Paolo
Yaroslav Askarov has garnered mixed reviews throughout his development. This highly regarded and rated goaltending prospect combines excellent range, mobility, processing power and athleticism with a 6-foot-3 frame. This hybrid style goaltender might check all the boxes for today’s modern game, yet leaves you expecting better results and asking more questions. He’s almost too athletic for his own good, at times and will find himself out of position and scrambling. At the same time, his recovery and reaction speed are on point. He can amaze you with an excellent save that showcases his explosive abilities and skills, but then surrenders a goal on a low-danger scoring chance. He challenges very well and gets to his spots in a flash, but there are just too many inconsistencies in his game at this point including his glove hand. Askarov doesn’t instil enough confidence at this time. His high draft position shouldn’t dictate his development curve to fast track him to the NHL. I believe the expectations and high draft position surrounding this player should give way to objectivity and a long-term game plan. A plan that enables him to address his weaknesses, build his game, and confidence preferably in North America — acclimate to new country and a different pro game — while taking the necessary time he needs in order to reach his potential.
CHAZ LUCIUS | C | Minnesota (NCAA) | January 28, 2022
Draft status: 1/18 (2021) | Winnipeg Jets
Scouting report by Jake Janso
Chaz Lucius is a dual-threat offensive winger with high-end finishing ability. He may never play on the penalty kill but he is a constant threat on the PP, both to score or to set something up. Lucius’ complimentary style of play masks a cerebral forward with a powerful and precise snapshot. He’s not the most explosive player, but he doesn’t need to be as he reads and processes the game around him so well. His mix of off-puck awareness and a quick catch and release shot makes him a constant threat to score. However, there is a good playmaker underneath as well with great vision and patience. He’s mostly known for his scoring ability but deserves more credit for his vision and patience with the puck. He rarely makes a bad pass and generates a good number of high-danger chances from behind the net. Lucius is not a particularly slow player but is also not fast and he tends to drift for most of his shifts but he’s never out of the play. I would say he’s not a play driver, but he enters the offensive zone with possession quite often. I’m not sure how his pace will translate to the NHL, but I could see some issues arising. Injuries and COVID have provided plenty of bumps in the road in Lucius’s journey but there is a solid player at the end of it. After a slow start at college he’s now putting up points consistently and should end the season with a solid stat line. I see Lucius becoming a top-six scoring winger that can light it up at even strength and on the PP. His ability to compliment his linemates will allow him to adapt to whatever situations he’s placed in but a future line consisting of Lucius and fellow Jets top prospect Cole Perfetti sounds like a dangerous combination.
TOMAS MACHU | D | Youngstown (USHL) | February 27, 2022
Draft status: 7/221 (2019) | New York Islanders
Scouting report by Austin Broad
Tomas Machu is a steady stay-at-home defender who uses his size to his advantage. He is a steady skater who is very good at using his size to help him defend all situations. With his body and gap control he can physically divert players from the center lanes to the boards and successfully eliminate them with a bodycheck. In the defensive zone, he uses his stick to disrupt passing lanes and force his opponents into making mistakes with the puck. Offensively he’s limited. His skating can allow him to jump into the rush but that’s not his style. He doesn’t control the puck very often when it is on his stick, rather he quickly passes the puck to his teammates who are more capable of creating offensive chances. Machu is a steady defensive defenseman who won’t make any costly mistakes, but also won’t be able to create offensive chances when he’s on the ice. With is defensive prowess and his physical traits I think he can be a sixth or seventh defender for the Islanders in the future, and definitely think he’s worth monitoring over the next couple of seasons. Any time a seventh round selection looks the part of a potential NHLer there is a lot of reasons to be optimistic.
SASHA PASTUJOV | LW | Guelph (OHL) | February 27, 2022
Draft status: 3/66 (2021) | Anaheim Ducks
Scouting report by Olivia McArter
Sasha Pastujov has very impressive puckhandling skills and overall clean puck play that stuck out. When in control of the puck, he had very quick and smooth puckhandling, quick and accurate passing, and had quick net-front plays creating many shots and second-chance opportunities on net. With an opponent on him, Pastujov protected the puck really well and held good possession. He also showed quick cuts in an effort to lose his man. He seemed to have good hockey IQ, knowing where to pass to progress the play or set his linemates up. Pastujov showed to be patient when in the defensive zone waiting for the puck to become free and where he then he moves in on the play. He had an okay shot, but it wasn’t all that accurate. If it were more dialed-in and had more velocity, Pastujov would have the potential to be much more lethal. He had a good cruising speed when skating, but infrequently he showed much urgency when it would’ve benefitted him. it seemed as the game progressed his momentum slowed. If there could be added speed to his skating and more work on his shot I could definitely see Pastujov making the jump to the NHL.