Realistic Expectations: Yevgeni Medvedev

Russia's Yevgeni Medvedev (L) fights for the puck with Slovakia's Marek Hovorka (C) during the final game of the International Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki on May 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV

Russia’s Yevgeni Medvedev (L) fights for the puck with Slovakia’s Marek Hovorka (C) during the final game of the International Ice Hockey World Championship in Helsinki on May 20, 2012. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV

“A large, yet very mobile and smooth skating defenseman. Medvedev sees the ice well and has good hockey sense. He can pass really well, but also possesses a hard shot. Could play a more physical and aggressive game given his size.”

The above sentence is from Elite Prospects profile of Yevgeni Medevedev, and it should sound somewhat familiar to Flyers fans as former Flyers defender Braydon Coburn was often described in similar ways. Given the similar descriptions of play, it’s possible to start expectations of Medvedev by comparing to Coburn.

Via Own the Puck

Via Own the Puck

Coburn’s strength as a player was suppressing shot attempts by opponents. He did this by playing the angles well, and not by throwing hits, which while not being aesthetically pleasing or even always visually noticeable, was still a huge part of why his game was so good.

Now of course, Medvedev is 32 and entering his first year in North America, so expecting him to duplicate Coburn’s performance is highly unlikely. However, it’s likely he can slow in as a second pair defender instead of a borderline top pair defender is fair. Most importantly, Medvedev should allow Mark Streit to have a competent partner instead of third pair talents like Andrew MacDonald or Nick Schultz.

From a point perspective, we’ll refer to Rob Vollman’s updated NHLE chart.

With 16 points in 43 games, Vollman’s model predicts Medvedev would score .29 points per game in the NHL or 24 points per 82 games. At 24 points, Medvedev would have had the third most points among Flyers defenders in the 14-15 season, behind only Michael Del Zotto (32) and Mark Streit (52) which means Medvedev could help spell some offensive minutes as well.

Of course, being 32, Medvedev isn’t a long term option, he’s merely a stopgap while the next generation of Flyers prospects get ready. Most likely, he’ll be rented at the deadline for more picks and prospects and that’s perfectly okay.

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