Having just finished our honourable mentions for the Calgary Flames’ top prospect rankings, it’s time to break into the meat of this year’s top 10 prospects. Coming in at the number 10 spot this year is goalie Arseni Sergeev, who has taken huge strides since being selected two years ago. Let’s jump into it.
Sergeev’s development so far
The Calgary Flames picked up Sergeev with their last pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, selecting the Russian netminder out of the NAHL’s Shreveport Mudbugs. Through 20 games, Sergeev put up a whopping 0.936 save percentage in 20 games—good for second in the league.
He then moved up from the weaker league to the USHL, playing with the Tri-City Storm alongside prospect Ilya Nikolayev. This is where he really shone. In 41 games, Sergeev put up a 0.918 save percentage and led the league with six shutouts. For his performance, he picked up first team all-star nods and the USHL’s Goalie of the Year Award.
This season was expected to be a growth year for Sergeev, moving over to the NCAA with the UConn Huskies (Go Ice Bus). With four goalies on the team, Sergeev was expected to play just a handful of games as a rookie, but managed to get into 19 games, about half of the team’s regular season games. He finished with a very good 0.912 save percentage, good for 10th in the Hockey East. He also was the best rookie goalie in league by some distance but was one of just two goalies without a shutout.
What was nice about Sergeev this season was his consistency. He allowed just 48 goals all season, but only had two games in which he allowed more than four goals. On top of that, in his 19 games this season, he faced more than 20 shots in all but two games this season, regularly facing upwards of 30 shots a night. Not bad for the rookie.
Sergeev’s strengths and weaknesses
Sergeev has always been known as a technically strong goalie who has the foundations to be great but needs practice to reach his potential. What really has set him apart is his athleticism, which was on full display this season. He made numerous post-to-post saves, robbing skaters and keeping his team in games. Take a look at this save he made against Providence in the final seconds of the game:
He also made easily the save of the season in the NCAA, robbing a University of New Hampshire skater with a wide-open cage. Take a look here:
While this is a bit of an older quote, it does speak to Sergeev’s game and his style. Joel Henderson, a scout for Future Considerations who primarily covers the WHL, praised several elements of Sergeev’s game:
Sergeev’s next steps
Sergeev has up to four more seasons in the NCAA, before which the Flames will lose the right to sign the Russian netminder. He is a bit of a longer-runway prospect, but will undoubtedly have opportunities to show whether he can be a professional goalie.
Here’s where things get interesting. UConn ran with two goalies last season, rookie Sergeev and sophomore Logan Terness. The two put up nearly the same numbers all season long, but the Huskies opted for Sergeev in their single-elimination loss to UMass in the playoffs. Following the season, Terness entered the NCAA’s transfer portal, joining Ohio State for next season. The Huskies then acquired Ethan Haider out of the portal from Clarkston University, where he put up a 0.906 save percentage in 35 games. This move points to UConn really liking Sergeev, but wanting to push him against an older, more experienced netminder.
Hopefully, Sergeev will show he deserves the starting role, playing somewhere in the 30-game realm next season and pushing his numbers up from this season. From there, he probably has at least one more season in the NCAA before he is ready for an AHL look. The Flames have developed a very nice goalie pipeline, with Wolf in the AHL currently and Daniil Chechelev in the ECHL. Sergeev’s progression looks very nice so far, and points for a bright future between the pipes for the organization.
Calgary Flames 2023 Top 10 Prospects
Honourable Mentions | #10 Arseni Sergeev | #9 Lucas Ciona | #8 Parker Bell | #7 Walker Duehr | #6 Matthew Phillips | #5 Jeremie Poirier | #4 Connor Zary | #3 Jakob Pelletier | #2 Matt Coronato | #1 Dustin Wolf