2019-20 Team: Dynamo St. Petersburg
Date of Birth: Oct. 9, 2000
Place of Birth: St. Petersburg, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 165 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 second-year eligible
As the NHL draft draws closer, scouts and fans alike begin looking for hidden gems that the community as a whole has somehow missed. This year, with scouts getting an extra four months to review their notes, finding a player that has been completely passed over is much more difficult, but some prospects have still inexplicably slipped through the cracks. While it’s unlikely these players much of an impact on the upper third of the draft, teams are still hopeful that they’ll find the next Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Lundquist.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
This year, Dmitri Rashevsky is drawing some excitement as a late-round gamble. After 64 games in the MHL, Russia’s top minor league, he finished first with 44 goals and second with 74 points. While it might seem like he’s primarily a sniper, Rashevsky actually plays a very well-rounded offensive game and tends more towards a playmaker, thanks to his ability to see the ice incredibly well. He processes the game very quickly and is an excellent problem solver, which enables him to make split-second decisions on the fly. He frequently makes incredibly deceptive passes to his open teammates, creating plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for his team. The only reason his assists aren’t higher than they are is that this season, St. Petersburg lacked forwards who could finish his plays.
Rashevsky’s biggest asset is his puckhandling. One on one, he is almost unbeatable. He has an incredible ability to make split-second decisions and combined with a quick first step and the ability turn on a dime, he’s able to blow past the opposition and create openings in nearly any situation. He’s dangerous in front of the net with his lightning-quick release. Better yet, he likes to shoot, and his five shots per 20 minutes were one of the highest averages in the MHL this past season. But playmaking is still his default and he can creatively create space for his teammates, giving them perfect chances to score.
How could a kid with such a refined offensive game be ignored until June? The first likely reason is that Rashevsky plays solely in the MHL, a league that is not as well scouted by North Americans as, say, Sweden’s Allsvenskan or SuperElit. Top Russian prospects are often selected out of the KHL; Rodion Amirov, a lock for the 2020 first round, finished the 2019-20 season in Russia’s top men’s league after dominating the minors for the first half. The other problem is that he has shown little effectiveness away from the puck. His skating is average among his peers and though he is always moving, he is unlikely to beat anyone in a foot race as he lacks that top gear that many scouts look for in top prospects.
Then there’s the Russian factor, likely a reason he was passed over at last year’s draft. While the pressure to stay close to home is nowhere near as strong as it has been in eras prior, the threat of opting to play in the KHL over the NHL still intrigues some players, especially if it looks like their prospects of making the NHL are slim. Rashevsky has never played anywhere other than his home city of St. Petersburg; he’s even slated to play for their VHL squad (comparable to the AHL in North America) for the 2020-21 season. It would appear that, if drafted, he’d have little desire to leave Russia.
But there’s still the fact that Rashevsky is a highly-skilled player, and given the chance, could be an impact winger for an NHL team. His skating isn’t great now, but that is a skill that can often change with age. Bobby Brink was criticized for his skating before the 2019 draft, but at the 2020 World Juniors, he was one of the fastest players on the ice. Could Rashevsky bloom into one of Russia’s top prospects? Many seem hopeful of that right now, and that sentiment might be enough to see him sneak into the 2020 draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Dmitri Rashevsky – NHL Draft Projection
Over the past months, Rashevsky has gone from a complete unknown to a very interesting option later in the draft. Some have even proposed that he could end up as a second-round choice. However, more realistically, he’ll be a late pick for a team looking to take a big risk, likely in the sixth or seventh round.
“He oozes skill with the puck, and he’s super engaged when he has it, but he’s not too much of a player off-puck from what I’ve seen. Dynamic hands, solid speed albeit with a weird stride, and thinks the game at a high level. Worth a late-round pick” – Future Scope Hockey
- Decision making
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
It’s difficult to pinpoint what Rashevsky could become in the NHL. He definitely has top-tier talent in terms of puck handling and playmaking abilities, but his skating may hold him back from developing into a star. There’s also the chance that he never comes over to North America, instead choosing to stay near home in the KHL. However, if the stars align and he joins an organization who is patient with his development, it’s possible he becomes a Tomas Tatar-like player, scoring plenty of goals from the top six.
Risk – 5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defense – 5/10
Rashevsky had not received any accolades prior to the 2019-20 season when he led the MHL in goals and came in second in points. He also has not yet starred for Russia internationally, although that could change next season if he is selected in October.
An elementary teacher by day and an avid hockey fan, Dayton joined The Hockey Writers in 2019 and currently covers the Ottawa Senators, World Juniors, and NHL Entry Draft.