Askarov, 18 (6/16/02), becomes the third goaltender ever selected by the Predators in the first round. The Omsk, Russia, native was the No. 1-ranked international goaltender by NHL Central Scouting and is the sixth Russian-born goaltender to be selected in the first round in League history.
“Iaroslav is an elite, elite prospect,” Predators Assistant GM/Director of Scouting Jeff Kealty said. “The talent level and the athleticism stands out right away. We compare his athleticism to that of Pekka Rinne or (Los Angeles Kings goalie) Jonathan Quick, and he’s mature beyond his years in terms of his compete level and mental make-up. Even at such a young age, he’s proven himself in a men’s league by playing in the KHL over in Russia. We believe he was the best player available, and if you have a franchise goaltender on your hands, which we do believe he will be, you’re in a very good situation.”