The long wait of coming to North America looks to be over for arguably the Nashville Predators’ most coveted prospect in the pipeline, Yaroslav Askarov.
According to a report from Pavel Lysenkov of Match TV, Askarov is expected to be heading to North America next season, meaning the Nashville Predators will get an entry level contract signed in the coming months:
With the disruption of the KHL due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine, it’s become unclear how this would affect prospects playing in that league. The NHL has already suspended all ties to the KHL and its agents amid the crisis in Ukraine.
Askarov’s KHL contract with SKA is set to expire, and now it looks like the Nashville Predators finally have an opening to get their young goaltender to North America to continue his development.
The ideal plan for Askarov in the Nashville Predators system
The hope is that Askarov can get plenty of time in net for the Milwaukee Admirals in the next couple of seasons as the Nashville Predators have Juuse Saros and Connor Ingram as the likely duo for 2022-23.
Askarov has had a rough go of it over the past season, and it’s not really been his fault. The issue has just been playing time. He appeared injust six games in 2021-22, compiling 95 saves and a .913 save percentage. This makes it very difficult to track his progress as a prospect with so few starts, especially as a goaltender.
It just wasn’t an ideal situation for Askarov to get the development that you want to see if you’re the Predators front office. He’ll get much more playing time once he gets into the Predators pipeline here in North America.
Askarov also added another nine games played for SKA’s VHL club, but he struggled a bit for that team as well posting a sub-90 save percentage.
This still remains a fluid situation, but all signs seem to indicate that we’ll finally see Askarov in North American hockey action later this year. He’s been dubbed the best goaltender prospect out there as he’s turning 20-years-old this summer.
In the meantime, the Nashville Predators can be patient with his development once he gets here. Saros is under contract thought 2024-25, and Ingram has one more season left before becoming an RFA in 2023.
Two full seasons of AHL experience would be great for Askarov to round out his game before playing as Saros’ backup in 2024-25. There’s certainly no reason to worry about the lack of playing time and average numbers from what should be his final season overseas.