2020-21 Team: U.S. National Development Team
Date of Birth: Jul. 15, 2003
Place of Birth: Bradenton, FL, USA
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 183 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 18th (amongst NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 42nd
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 31st
- Andrew Forbes’ February Rankings: 26th
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 35th
- Dobber Prospects: 40th
- Smaht Scouting: 21st
When you look at this year’s USNTDP draft class, there have been three forwards that have stood out from the rest — Dylan Duke, Chaz Lucius and Sasha Pastujov. Pastujov was one of the U.S. National U17 team’s most prolific point producers during the 2019-20 season and co-led the team in scoring with Chaz Lucius. He amassed 14 goals and 36 assists for 50 points in 49 games played. He made the jump to the U18 level this season and continued his dominance, leading the team in goals, assists and points with 30 goals and 35 assists for 65 points in 41 games played.
Pastujov is an exceptionally talented dual-threat winger who can beat opposition defenders in a variety of ways. He’s one of the best puck handlers in the draft class and produced several highlight-reel plays throughout the season. He’s got soft hands and can handle the puck close to his body and use a quick burst of speed to embarrass a defender. When he gets up to full speed, he’s incredibly hard to stop and can weave in-and-out of the opposing steam with ease.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
He’s not the fastest player when it comes to top speed, but it certainly isn’t a weak point in his game. Where he really excels is his edgework and agility, especially at full speed. He can cut and turn in the blink of an eye and projects well as an efficient puck possession wizard at the NHL level.
Pastujov possesses an impressive passing range as well as a deceptively powerful shot. He doesn’t shoot the puck as much as some of the top snipers in the class, but he just always seems to find himself in the right positions to put the puck in the back of the net. His goal-scoring prowess is due to his exceptional hockey IQ, and he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, whether it’s to set up a teammate or to score himself.
His offensive abilities don’t come at a sacrifice for responsibility in his own zone. He’s a well-rounded player who can still impact the game without the puck on his stick. He could stand to add some more strength, which would allow him to be a bit more physical when defending, as well as adding a bit of explosiveness to his skating stride.
He’s committed to the University of Notre Dame next season and will be thrust into a top-six role right from the start. It won’t be quite the same as the talent on display at the University of Michigan, but he will still be joining a roster of players that will complement his skillset.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Sasha Pastujov – NHL Draft Projection
Ranked in the mid-to-late first round and as late as an early second-round selection, Pastujov will likely hear his name called on day one of the draft. His play this season won’t go unnoticed, and the fact he led the USA in scoring at the IIHF U18 World Championship will only help his draft stock. I would be surprised if he slipped out of the first round, and even if he does, it won’t be that far.
“Pastujov is an elite passer of the puck, and is a driving force in the offensive zone. He plays with a glowing sense of confidence, and has given coaches/scouts many highlight reel goals during his time at the USNTDP. Aside from his talented skills in the offensive zone, Pastjuov possesses a ridiculously high hockey IQ. The way he can pick out a teammate streaking down towards the slot and deliver a crisp pass on the tape from the opposite circle is mind-blowing.” – Paul Zuk, Smaht Scouting
“Pastujov has one of the best shots in the entire draft class and can put the puck in the net as well as anyone can at this age. The insane part to me is that there’s still a lot of room for his shot to get better. As good as his shot is, I don’t love his mechanics, as there’s not a lot of weight transfer when shooting in movement. Once he gets stronger and adds this element to his shot, look out. While the rest of his offensive skillset isn’t going to get talked about as much, there’s still a lot more to his attacking toolkit than an elite shot. His playmaking is pretty underrated, especially when set up in the offensive zone and/or on the power play.” – Brad Krakowitz, Recruit Scouting
“Pastujov is phenomenal with the puck on his stick offensively and is an elusive skater who is hard to stop when he is moving. He can display as a dual-threat scorer, who can make smart passes to teammates and get quality shots to the net. Defensively, Pastujov is reliable. If he was more physical in the defensive zone, it would surely benefit him more, but he maintains solid positioning overall.” – Clare McManus, Dobber Prospects
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Top Speed (Explosiveness)
Pastujov has the potential to be a middle-six winger who can consistently contribute 20 goals and feature on his team’s top power play unit. While he might not drive play by himself, if he finds the right line, he could develop into a deadly offensive weapon. He’ll be the type of player that any coaching staff is comfortable having out there in all situations.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 6/10
- World U-17 Hockey Challenge Silver Medal (2019-20)
Fan of the Anaheim Ducks for my whole life. I’m a die hard fan living in London, Ontario. Excited to be writing about the team I love. Talking all things Ducks on the Forever Mighty Podcast!