For the third year in a row, the Calgary Flames have selected a lone goalie at the draft. Last year it was Daniil Chechelev. Before that, it was Dustin Wolf. This year, the team used their seventh-round pick to select Arseni Sergeev. Although he was the third last goalie taken in the draft, he is coming off a very strong season in the NAHL.
Who is Arseni Sergeev
Sergeev is a native of Yaroslavl, Russia. He came to North America for the 2019–20 season at the age of 16 and stayed for 2020–21. In his two seasons (so far) in North America, he has already played in three leagues, the NAHL, USHL, and NCDC.
|2018–19||D-2||Golden Dog Dmitrov||NMHL||14||.890|
|2019–20||D-1||New Jersey Junior Titans||NAHL||15||.892|
|2019–20||D-1||Sioux Falls Stampede||USHL||2||.811|
|2019–20||D-1||New Jersey Rockets||NCDC||4||.926|
After a series of unimpressive seasons, Sergeev broke out playing for Shreveport in 2021, posting the second-best save percentage in the league, along with a 14-4-2 record. He didn’t have the biggest workload, splitting time with 21-year-old Cole Hudson, but still played more than many goalies over the course of the COVID impacted season.
What does Sergeev bring to the table?
Sergeev is a bit of a wild card as a prospect. His success in the NAHL shows his upside, but it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his stellar numbers after struggling in the past.
One reason for optimism for his future is his athleticism. The strongest aspect of his game is his natural athletic ability. With that being such an important part of playing goal, its encouraging to think the more coachable aspects of his game are what needs to be worked on. Technique is easier to learn than athleticism.
In this clip he shows off his flexibility, making not one but two sprawling saves from when he was playing for the New Jersey Junior Titans.
Quick lateral saves are a strength of Sergeev’s game, but he finds himself in a position where he needs to make them more often than he should. He will need to improve his positioning to avoid this in the future.
At 6’3″ and 192 pounds, he also has good size, something scouts love. With that size and athleticism, the upside is certainly there. Not only that, but his coaches in Shreveport have said that he is calm, consistent, and coachable. All of these are good signs for a late-round pick who will need to refine his game to make it at the next level.
Truthfully, there is not a lot of information out there on Sergeev. Playing in Louisiana amidst the pandemic made it difficult for scouts to see him play, but his extremely impressive stats with the Mudbugs speaks for themselves.
What is next for Sergeev?
The next steps for Sergeev are pretty clear. He has already commit to UConn for the 2022–23 season and is expected to play for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL until then. Tri-City picked him fourth overall in the 2021 USHL draft. Next season will be huge for him to prove if his statistics from the 2021 NAHL season were the result of a small sample size or the new norm.
The Flames took a small calculated risk by selecting him. He has size and athleticism that gives him a chance at becoming a much better goalie than he is today. On the other hand, if this season was a flash in the pan, well, seventh-round picks don’t often turn into much. No one will be upset if things don’t work out (no pressure though, Wolf).
No matter the direction that Sergeev’s next season goes, he is a prospect that will require patience and development. With a little bit of each of those ingredients, he could very well outperform his draft position in the coming years.