Over the next few weeks, The Win Column has ranked the Calgary Flames’ best prospects in advance of the 2022 NHL Draft. Next up in our prospect rankings is the 12th ranked prospect: Arseni Sergeev.
Sergeev (or Sergeyev) was drafted by the Flames in the seventh round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He was not ranked on any draft boards that year, but put up very solid numbers in the NAHL with the Shreveport Mudbugs. It’s not a great league, but Sergeev was great in it.
A Russian-born player, Sergeev hails from the same town as fellow prospect Ilya Nikolayev, Yaroslavl, but Sergeev has played much more of his career in North America. In 2019, he was drafted in the 22nd round of the USHL draft by the Sioux Falls Stampede, and chose to cross the pond to pursue hockey in North America.
He suited up for teams in the NAHL and NCDC before his USHL rights ultimately lapsed. In 2021, he was drafted fourth overall by the USHL Tri-City Storm where he most recently played, also with Nikolayev. Sergeev is committed to attend UConn, former home of other Flames prospect Yan Kuznetsov, for the 2022–23 season.
Standing at 6’3″ and 192 lbs, Sergeev won’t be questioned about his size being good enough for the big leagues. He’s 19 years old and won’t turn 20 until December 16.
Sergeev’s strengths and weaknesses
By all accounts, Sergeev is a very technically sound goaltender. As a 19-year-old, his biggest asset right now is his athleticism which gives him the ability to make tough saves and react quickly to changing situations in front of him. He still has work to do with positioning and making things easier for himself, but that’s expected from a teenager playing at any level, really.
It’s always nice to have natural athletic ability, especially as a goalie. It’s such an important skill and it’s encouraging that the more coachable aspects of his game are what he’ll need to work on as he develops. Technique is easier to teach than athleticism.
Joel Henderson, a scout for Future Considerations who primarily covers the WHL, praised several elements of Sergeev’s game:
Like Nikolayev did among forwards, Sergeev showed that he is atop his age group in this league among goaltenders and was head and shoulders above the competition.
Sergeev’s on-ice results
The USHL is the top development league in the USA—and at this point is fairly comparable to the CHL. Sergeev was by far the best goalie in the USHL, winning multiple player of the week honors, and ultimately goalie of the year honours in the USHL.
Among goalies with at least 20 games played, Sergeev ranked first in GAA, first in SV%, first in wins, and first in shutouts. He also set a new USHL franchise record for wins.
Sergeev’s dominance in the USHL is a bit different than his teammate, Nikolayev’s. Sergeev was just 19 years old, definitely within the age range to play in the USHL and not too old that his results need to be taken with a grain of salt. No matter which way you cut it, Sergeev is too good for the USHL, and as a 19-year-old, that’s promising.
Sergeev’s next steps
As with all goalies, adapting to the next higher league with better competition and more sophisticated styles is going to be the biggest challenge for Sergeev. He will no doubt keep improving the technical aspects of his game, but his ability to adapt will be huge for how he performs at UConn, a Division I NCAA school that demands excellence from its athletes.
Sergeev is one of three Flames goalies to earn nods as the best as their position in their respective leagues this season, so the future between the pipes looks extremely strong for the Flames. Since Sergeev is committed to college, he won’t be signing his entry-level contract with the Flames this offseason—despite the AHL Flames needing a new goalie to back up Dustin Wolf. But, depending on how things go, this year he could sign as early as next year.
For Sergeev, the most important next steps are to keep improving and performing at the next level. The USHL to NCAA transition can be very difficult, and how Sergeev handles that will be interesting to watch.
For now, Flames fans can revel in the fact that their prospect system has the best goalie in the best junior league in the USA.