2018-19 Team: Muskegon Lumberjacks (#10)
Date of Birth: Jan 23, 2001
Place of Birth: Tver, Russia
Ht: 6 foot 4 Wt: 201 pounds.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 16th (among North American Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 54th
- Hockeyprospect.com: 59th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 36th
- ISS Hockey: 24th
- Bob McKenzie: 37th
There’s going to be a large amount of USHL players taken in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and Egor Afanasyev may be one of the most hidden gems in this year’s draft class. A big winger at 6 foot 4 and 201 pounds, Afanasyev has smoother hands than most at his size. Coupling that with his strong compete level and Afanasyev was a huge part of Muskegon’s gameplan this season in the USHL.
In 58 games this season, he’d score 27 goals and 62 points before adding another two goals and six points in eight playoff games.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
Afanasyev was rated a B-prospect by NHL Central Scouting which makes him a second or third-round talent according to their scale. This isn’t surprising and puts him right on par with what was expected when watching him play.
One-on-one, it’s hard to find a more entertaining player to watch in this year’s draft class given his surprising skill and knowledge of the game. Unfortunately, one area that hampers him is his skating as he’s not as well-rounded a skater as teams would like at this point in his development.
Despite this, Afanasyev has proven he can compete against others at the USHL level who are better skaters. If he can hone in on this area of his development when he makes the jump to the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL next season, he can be a formidable talent at the NHL level one day as this is the only part of his game that’s really keeping him outside of the first-round for many.
Another part of his game that needs work is his defensive ability, but that’s not uncommon for players at his age who display such strong offensive tendencies. He’s a project right now, but his offensive upside and intangibles are too good to pass up beyond the second round.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Egor Afanasyev – NHL Draft Projection
A player who has the strengths and production of a first-line forward with concerns regarding his skating, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a team at the tail-end of the first round take a look at drafting him if they feel they can help him improve where necessary. In the end, though, the most likely spot for him is somewhere in the first few picks of the second-round. A safe range for him is the 32-38 range.
“Good size with a pro-style game and a big-time shot that makes him a legit threat from the dots down.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
“In the East, Muskegon is closing in on the first-round playoff bye and Afanasyev is driving the bus offensively. The 2019 draft prospect leads the Jacks in scoring with 56 points in 53 games, using his hands, 1-on-1 skills and compete level to get the job done. Skating is a question mark, but the kid produces.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
- Compete Level/High Motor
- High Hockey IQ
- Smooth Hands
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Defensive Positioning
Players who struggle with skating face unique obstacles when trying to make it to the NHL. With that said, Afanasyev isn’t so bad of a skater that his strengths are outweighed altogether. His deficiencies are all able to be improved upon and if he can figure that out, his ceiling is a top-six winger spot in the NHL.
Risk – 3.5/5 | Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10 | Defense – 5/10
Afanasyev was named to the USHL Third All-Star Team in 2018-19.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.