2018-19 Team: Waterloo Black Hawks
Date of Birth: June 19, 2001
Place of Birth: Yaroslavl, Russia
Ht: 6’ 0” Wt: 181 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- Bob McKenzie: 46
- Dobber’s Consolidated: 63
- Craig Button: 41
- Fisher’s Top Prospects, March: 69
- NHL Central Scouting, EU Skaters: 21
With a name like Firstov, expect the puns: “Firstov all, is he any good?” “I hope he wasn’t Firstov the ice.” Through 58 games, the USHL rookie has 24-31-55 points, good for third on Waterloo and 14th overall in the league. His 55 points also have him tied with Shane Pinto for first first in points among rookies
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
With a name like Firstov, also expect to hear the kind of xenophobic Russian stereotypes long trumpeted by the likes of Don Cherry: robotic, enigmatic, lazy, selfish. Just don’t believe them. Firstov displays few, if any, of those traits.
The number of Russian-born players taken in the NHL draft peaked in 2000 when 42 players were taken. It dropped to single digits around the time the KHL was formed in 2008, and for the last several years the number has hovered around 20. The prejudice against Russian-born players among some NHL general managers is hardly a secret or a thing of the past. Nonetheless, the current Russian-born NHL stars are chipping away at those stereotypes. Last season, Alex Ovechkin became the first Russian-born captain of a Stanley Cup championship team. In a few days, Nikita Kucherov will become the third Russian-born player in NHL history to capture the Art Ross Trophy with a potential point total not seen in the NHL in 20 years.
Firstov is an all-in team player who plays all three zones, competes hard, has great hands and a bomb of a shot. His origins should have no impact on when he’s taken in the draft. He’ll be selected on well-earned merits.
Firstov has committed to the University of Connecticut for the fall.
Vladislav Firstov – NHL Draft Projection
Check out the chatter about Firstov at Hockey’s Future Boards.
“Firstov is a solidly built and skilled forward who skates at an elite level, is very explosive and really has a lot of power in his stride, making him a real force on the ice. He has good hands and puck skills and makes some really creative plays with the puck and reads the game very quickly. His shot is hard and accurate displaying strong finishing abilities. He competes at a high level and really works for his team.” Draft Prospects Hockey
“He’s adapted so well to the league and has so many pro elements to his game. He’s got an NHL-ready shot; he can really fire it. He’s a big-bodied power forward that can possess the puck really well in traffic (and) his hockey sense is really good.” David Gregory, NHL Central Scouting
- Shot (it’s a cannon)
- Hockey IQ
- Sees the ice well
- Compete level
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Add some bulk
He has all the tools to play pro hockey in North America, and could be ready to suit up in a couple years.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 6/10
Firstov was named to the rosters of the seventh annual USHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Jan. 2019.
Daily Motion: Firstov USHL Highlights