2020-21 Team: Mamonty Yugry, MHL
Date of Birth: Sept. 25, 2002
Place of Birth: Nizhny Tagil, Russia
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 147 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 33rd (European skaters)
- Peter Baranucci’s Final Rankings: Not Ranked
- Matthew Zator’s Final Rankings: Not Ranked
- Andrew Forbes’ May Rankings: Not Ranked
- Corey Pronman’s Final Top 151 (from ‘Top 151 Prospects for 2021 NHL Draft: Owen Power leads Corey Pronman’s final rankings,’ The Athletic NHL, 6/15/21): 112
Despite an underwhelming season numbers-wise, seeing Vasily Atanasov score just 20 goals and 41 points in 56 games with the MHL’s Mamonty Yugry, the tape tells a different story. With his swift and powerful skating and high motor and work ethic, Atanasov has what it takes to grow into a solid NHL player.
For his 5-foot-10, 147-pound frame, Atanasov is a force with the puck and uses every bit of his powerful skating ability and his underrated strength to push past defenders and make plays happen for his team. He uses his motor on both sides of the ice, forcing turnovers with his skating ability.
For his size, Atanasov can be a force around the net, powering his way through defenders to get rebounds and pot them past goaltenders. With his speed, his knack for getting to the dirty areas creates a dynamic that is very uncommon, especially with the addition of his ability on the defensive side of the ice.
Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide
However, there are two glaring issues that come with Atanasov. For one, he needs to become a better finisher on the offensive end. While he is very good at creating chances, a lot of those chances don’t translate into goals, as he is still very raw in that aspect. He also needs to add some weight, most importantly muscle, so he can utilize that power and work ethic even further at the NHL level. His size and strength might work at the junior level, but he needs to add more to it in order for it to translate in the pros.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Vasily Atanasov NHL Draft Projection
Atanasov is a player that teams could look to take a flier on in the fourth or fifth round. He is still a few years away from being ready to play at the NHL level, but with his work ethic and motor, he should hear his name called either late in the fourth round or early in the fifth round.
“Atanasov’s game has a lot of speed and energy. He has a quick-twitch skating stride that allows him to transition pucks up ice well. He’s hard on pucks, forcing a lot of turnovers with his effort and skating, and is a good two-way forward. He makes plays through defenders with his puck skills consistently and does so on the move. He has some playmaking ability, but the question on Atanasov is how much offense is in his game, particularly for an undersized forward, as he didn’t score that much for his age in the MHL.” Corey Pronman, The Athletic (from ‘Top 151 Prospects for 2021 NHL Draft: Owen Power leads Corey Pronman’s final rankings,’ The Athletic NHL, 6/15/21)
- Elite work ethic
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Atanasov fits the mold of Jean-Gabriel Pageau with a lower floor and a higher ceiling. His work ethic and defensive potential could make him a valuable asset at the NHL level as a second or third-line forward, but if he adds more offensive tools to his game, he could become the steal of the draft. However, it’s going to take a lot of work before he gets to that point, as he still is a long-term project.
Risk – 3/5 | Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6/10 | Defense – 8/10
Vasily Atanasov Stats
Colby Guy is a writer for the Florida Panthers department here at THW. He’s a senior at Florida Atlantic University and currently serves as a football contributor, social media contributor and photographer for FAU Owls Nest.
Previously, Colby has written for FanSided as a New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators writer. He also served as Editor-In-Chief for FAU’s University Press. You can find him on Twitter at @ColbyDGuy.