Projecting Prospects: Radel Fazleev

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Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)

 

Radel Fazleev was fairly unknown when drafted in the 6th round (168th overall) in 2014 by the Flyers. Coming off a 5 goal 20 assist campaign where he played 38 games, the Flyers scooped him up in the 6th round.  Given that he was neither touted as top prospect nor picked high, there isn’t a whole lot of pressure in Fazleev to develop into a top line superstar player.

 

That said, Fazleev has pieced together a decent season so far with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. He has 39 points in 55 games so far.   Fazleev sits 5th on his team in scoring, behind fellow Flyers prospect Travis Sanheim. Fazleev probably won’t sniff the NHL until 2018 or 2019, so he is a long term project. There’s time for him to learn non-scoring skills such as penalty killing and defensive positioning. Of course, we can still project where Fazleev might sit in the NHL.

 

As Rob Vollman shows, the WHL-NHL equivalency is .26 points per game. So, based on the total body of WHL work from Fazleev where he has .717 points per game, we can expect that Fazleev would score .186 points per game in the NHL or 15 points per 82. However, this doesn’t factor in the likely AHL seasoning or age improvement that Fazleev will show as he grows and matures. Unlike previous prospects like Nick Cousins or Petr Straka where the comparison can be drawn between Major Junior and the AHL, Fazleev lacks that luxury. However, given that older players tend to score more in Major Junior due to being more physically mature than their younger opponents, it’s likely that Fazleev will crack a point per game in his age 19 or age 20 Junior seasons. This plus some AHL seasoning might just get Fazleev to the 20-25 point range in the NHL.

Working against this however is the fact that, including WHL playoffs, Fazleev’s points per game has been basically stagnant from .727 points per game in 13-14 compared to .709 in 14-15. That said, 15 points barely registers on the scoring chart from Pension Plan Puppets. Fazleev would slide in as a poor 3rd line LW.

This is where Fazleev’s focus on defensive play and penalty killing should come in. If Fazleev could develop that type of skill, he might be able to fill a Chris VandeVelde or P. E. Bellemarre type role as a skilled penalty killing fourth liner. Given the fact that Bellemarre and VandeVelde will both be over 30 years old by the time Fazleev is ready for the NHL, it might be best for the Flyers to think of Fazleev as an internal cheap fourth line option. A cheap 4th line ELC will go a long way for the Flyers when it comes to paying out extensions in 3-5 years to the big 4 prospect D of Sam Morin, Robert Hagg, Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim get their raises.

There’s no guarantee Fazleev will amount to much in the NHL, but given that he’s a late round pick, that’s okay. If he never makes it above the ECHL or AHL there’s no real loss for the Flyers. Ideally, they get a couple years of a decent fourth liner.

Besides, the world might get to see Fazleev’s dance moves on the big stage someday.

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