2021-22 Team: Chaika Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)
Date of Birth: May 16, 2004
Place of Birth: Balakhna, Russia
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 179 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 61st (among EUR skaters)
- Future Considerations: 50th
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 75th
- Andrew Forbes’ March Rankings: 85th
- SMAHT Scouting: 55th
Alexander Pelevin is one of the riskier defensemen of the prospects available in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The Russian defenseman has not produced a promising scoring rate, considering he’s playing at the junior level of Russian Hockey. But, his great tools and late-season point production are all the more reason to keep an eye on the blueliner.
The first thing to know about Pelevin is that his skating is the primary skill that allows him to dominate on the ice. His strong strides allow him to quickly close in on opponents. He has great edges to keep up with skilled forwards in the defensive zone.
More importantly, his skating can quickly see him carry the puck out of trouble and transition his team to offense quickly. Paired with his quick and shifty hands, Pelevin can walk the blue line and quickly change angles in order to throw shots toward the net.
But, there’s obviously work to be done. First, Pelevin can be undisciplined with his stick and positioning and take frequent penalties. He had 61 penalty minutes in 29 games this season, although that rate subsided once the postseason came around.
A similar issue is that he can be far too aggressive, which is common for offensive-minded players. He can get caught out of position and pinch at inopportune moments, leaving his partner to defend a 2-on-1. He can also play too high in the defensive zone and allow forwards easy rebound chances.
Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide
But, those instances are not constant, and they are errors expected from a 17-year-old defenseman. In fact, Pelevin’s play even allowed him to slot into two second-division Russian (VHL) games and one Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) game. Those spots are hard to earn as a youngster, and they indicate his strong play.
As Kyle Cushman’s data indicates, Pelevin has struggled to put up points this season, but he has been one of his team’s best defenders. Pelevin has the tools to put up better scoring rates as he ages.
It will be fascinating to see how NHL teams evaluate Pelevin’s game when the NHL Draft comes around. His base as a smooth-skating two-way defenseman is great, but lackluster point production and occasional defensive miscues certainly move him down draft boards.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Alexander Pelevin – NHL Draft Projection
Drafting prospects out of Russia is becoming increasingly tricky, especially since it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring them to North America. With a prospect of Pelevin’s talent, I would see him going somewhere in the third round or later, pending his Russian heritage impacting his draft slot.
“Alexander Pelevin is a fleet-footed, two-way defender with potential offensive playmaking upside. Lightning-quick feet and fluid hip mobility combine to make him a really outstanding skater. A small heel kick when extending consecutive strides, giving a ‘running on ice’ illusion is the only notable efficiency flaw in his maneuvering, but his linear crossover ability masks this already.” – Whittaker Heart, FC Hockey
- Skating and speed
- Transition Offense and Defense
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Occasional Positioning Errors
With mid-late round prospects, it’s impossible to predict if or when they can make NHL impacts. Personally, I’m a massive fan of Pelevin’s game, and anticipate he could develop into a second or third-pairing defenseman after taking time to develop and climb the ranks of Russian hockey. I would suspect Pelevin is drafted somewhere between the third and fifth round.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 7/10
Alexander Pelevin Statistics
Josh is a young writer from the Bay Area, who now studies journalism at San Diego State University. In addition to covering the Sharks and Gulls for THW, Josh is a crossover scout at FCHockey and covers his school’s hockey team at TheDailyAztec. When not obsessing over hockey, Josh loves blasting music with friends, theatre, and playing with his dog. Follow Josh on Twitter for his latest takes on the Sharks, Gulls, and NHL Draft!