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2018 NHL Draft Profile: Alexander Alexeyev the big Russian defender

Alexeyev is a solid two-way defenseman that is a low-risk pick at the end of round one or early round two

Red Deer Rebels v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

We all know the Buffalo Sabres are going to take a defenseman to kick off the 2018 NHL Draft. The question is do they double down on defense to start round two or go with a forward?

I’ve touched on a few forwards that the Sabres would likely need to trade up to get a chance at and a defenseman that could be available around 32. This time I’m looking at another defender that is pegged to go around 32nd overall in the Russian Alexander Alexeyev.

The Numbers

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Age: 18

Position: D

Shoots: L

Nationality: Russia

Team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

Alexeyev is another player that I’d describe as a “safe pick” at the end of round one or early stages of round two. That by no means is a knock on the 18-year-old defenseman. Instead, I describe him that way due to his low-risk value.

I’m extremely confident Alexeyev is going to play a lot of games in the NHL. I’m also confident he’s not going to be a shut down top pair blueliner in the pros. He projects out as a solid second pair defenseman that can give you some offense.

Alexeyev is not going to be like his countryman and current Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov. The 21-year-old defenseman for the Flyers gives you more offensively as his 17 goals last season would indicate.

The big defender may be one of the more solid players in his own end of the ice. He’s solid positionally and has good instincts. Alexeyev uses his size well in the corners and in front of the net. He can also play in all situations, including the power play and penalty kill.

He’s a good puck mover and a decent skater. As I mentioned he’ll chip in offensively from time to time. He had seven goals and 37 points in 45 games from the Rebels this season. He doesn’t take a lot of risks on the offensive end, which is why I don’t anticipate him producing at the level he did in juniors.

Having said that, he does have offensive potential with his ability to read the play so well. I’d expect 20 to 25 points to be his range in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

Alexeyev isn’t the human highlight reel like some defenseman at the top of this draft. He does the things well that don’t make it into the highlights, that allow his team to win games.

The club that drafts him is going to get a solid defenseman that will have a good future in the NHL. He’ll likely come off the board in the 25-35 range in a few weeks in Dallas.

Buffalo could use some more help on defense in their prospect pool. If they choose to continue to strengthen the position, Alexeyev should be in the conversation at pick 32 if he’s still on the boad.