Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is Alex Alexeyev, defenseman for the Hershey Bears. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page right here.)
Alexeyev, 21, was the Capitals first round draft pick (#31 overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’-4” left-handed defenseman signed a three-year entry-level contract on September 24, 2018 for $894,167 AAV. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season. He is waivers exempt for the coming season.
Alexeyev began his hockey career with Serebryanye of the MHL (the KHL’s minor league system). He was subsequently drafted in the first round of the 2016 CHL Import Draft by the Red Deer Rebels.
Alexeyev started for the Rebels beginning with the 2016-2017 season, where he registered four goals and 17 assists in 41 games played. In his second year at Red Deer, Alexeyev would nearly double his scoring output, registering seven goals and 30 assists in 45 games. However, he would suffer a shoulder injury that marginalized his season.
His 2018-2019 campaign was a tale of two seasons, with a clear delineation of the two parts occurring at the 2019 World Junior Championship in late December and early January. Alexeyev got off to a blazing-hot start, offensively, in October, scoring seven goals and 13 assists in just 15 games. He was also named WHL player of the week in late October. In November he had no goals but nine assists in nine games played, and sustained his first of several injuries during the season in late November.
Alexeyev was selected for the 2019 World Juniors by Team Russia. He scored a goal and added an assist in a game against Switzerland in the preliminary round. He then scored a goal against Switzerland (here) on December 30, with one goal and three assists in four games played in the preliminary round. In the end, Alexeyev had an impressive showing at the World Junior Championship (recap is here). Alexeyev had two goals and four assists in seven games played. He totaled 12 shots for a shooting percentage of 16.7% in the tournament. He totaled 10 PIMs, registered one power play goal and one game-winning goal, and was a plus-9.
However, his productivity continued to quiet down after he returned to Red Deer. Alexeyev returned to Red Deer starting on January 9. Unfortunately he suffered another injury in a game against the Calgary Hitmen on January 19. He would leave the game, but later returned to finish the game. However, he was scratched the following night against the Hitmen and against Medicine Hat on January 25. He also missed the remaining two games of the month. According to local sources, Alexeyev was seen around the practice facility with his shoulder in a sling, and it looked like he injured the same shoulder he injured the previous season. After going through two significant injuries already in the season, Alexeyev suffered a season-ending knee injury at the beginning of March (here). For the season, he had 10 goals and 33 assists in 49 games played.
Alexeyev’s rookie season in the AHL went well, playing in 58 of the team’s 62 games. The 58 games played for Hershey was a career high for Alexeyev, who was injury prone in his junior hockey career. Offensively, he recorded three goals and 18 assists, good enough for fourth in points among all Bears rookies, and second among defensemen. He was third among all Bears rookies with a +8.
The 2020-21 season was a busy one for Alexeyev. He would spend a majority of the year playing for Salavat Yuleav Ufa in the KHL due to the shutdown in North America associated with the COVID pandemic. The change in plans would turn out to be a huge benefit for Alexeyev. He would begin the KHL season in the bottom pairing but by the time the season came to an end he was the team’s top defenseman. After a first round exit in the KHL postseason, Alexeyev would report to Hershey for the conclusion of the abbreviated AHL season.
2020-2021 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Alex Alexeyev during the 2020-2021 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Alexeyev was officially loaned to Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL on September 3rd, with his first regular season game occurring on September 15. Alexeyev had been playing on the 2nd pair for a majority of the month, but was dropped to the third pair against Vityaz on September 26. (Salavat rolls four to five pairs). He was elevated to the top pair for the final game of the month against Avtomobilist. Alexeyev’s playing time steadily increased as the month progressed.
Alexeyev recoded his first career KHL point with a primary assist against Vityaz on September 26. The primary assist came on a nice tic-tac-goal, which was finished by Dmitry Kugryshev, tying the game at 4-4. Alexeyev entered the zone and found the open ice on the weak side, receiving a cross-ice feed and relaying a centering pass to Kugryshev for the even-strength score.
Alexeyev’s KHL game-by-game stats for the month of September. [Click to enlarge]
Summary: Alexeyev is settling in nicely in the KHL. As noted, his playing time has steadily increased over the course of the month, indicating a growth in trust by his coaches. After watching three of his games it’s readily apparent that he’s getting comfortable playing against much older players and the amplified skill levels he’s facing in the KHL. He has been fairly responsible in his own end, although that still needs work. He’s shown he can read the play and knows when to jump in the zone at the KHL level. A very productive month for the 20-year old.
Alexeyev was dropped from the top pair to the second pair for the first game of the month and stayed there for a majority of the month. Alexeyev played on the right side in the last game of September, but returned to the left side for first game of October, where he also settled in.
Alexeyev scored his first career KHL goal on October 12 against Barys. The goal came at 12:31 of the middle frame.
Alexeyev was asked about playing for Salavat, and his first KHL tally following the game.
“Thanks to the fans for their loyalty, for their support, for the fact that they immediately supported me. There is a great atmosphere here, they always “get sick” and support. For me, the match turned out to be a little crumpled. I scored a goal, played well, but retired in the end.”
Alexeyev was dropped to the third pair on October 15 against Kunlun. That didn’t deter him from finding the scoresheet once again with a nice assist from behind the goal for Salavat’s second score.
Salavat Yulaev hit a rough patch in the road in the middle of the month when several players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19. The diminished roster subsequently led to consecutive losses, but also led to more playing time for Alexeyev.
Alexeyev continued on the third pair against Avangard on October 17. However, for the seventh-straight game Alexeyev’s minutes dropped, as playing time was just 14:31 in this game.
Alexeyev was once again elevated to right side of the top pair against Sochi on October 19. The elevation was likely due to a one-game suspension incurred by defenseman and team Captain Grigory Panin. Panin levied a hit on Avangard forward and formal Capitals prospect Sergei Shumakov in Salavat’s previous game. Shumakov had to leave the game and did not return.
In the game Alexeyev would score his second goal of the season, his first at even strength, to give Salavat a 2-0 lead. That would be the final.
After the game, Alexeyev was asked about the smaller rink size in Sochi.
“This season we did not play on such a site, and I think we played well, we held out, scored on our chances, and our goalkeeper helped us out. I haven’t played on such a site since March (AHL/Hershey), so it was hard for the first ten minutes, and then I got used to it.”
Alexeyev had a tough game against former Washington Capital Alexander Semin and Vityaz HC on October 21. Alexeyev would be -2 for the game and a contributing factor to both of Semin’s goals.
On the first goal, Alexeyev was knocked off the puck, which led to a turnover and net front finish for Semin.
On the second goal, Alexeyev was pulled out of position on the penalty kill, opening up the passing lanes.
Alexeyev wrapped the month of October in the third defensive pairing with 17:17 of ice time against Metallurg. Offensively for the season Alexeyev had two goals and three assists in 19 games played. The following is his game-by-game breakdown for the season [Click to enlarge]:
Analysis – We were able to watch four of Alexeyev’s games this month. Alexeyev is steadily gaining confidence in the KHL, however his minutes decreased significantly during the middle of the month. His time on the power play has also decreased. Alexeyev continues to make sizable mistakes in his own zone, and looks lost on occasion, but that should be expected for a 20-year-old AHL defenseman playing in the KHL for the first time. All in all, he is doing well for his first 20 games in the KHL.
Following the game against Sochi NoVa Caps spoke with two journalists covering the KHL/Salavat to get a third-party review. Azamat Shavlukov, KHL reporter, had this assessment of Alexeyev’s current state of play:
“I may say he is positive, has some sense of humor, he can go forward with the puck, has pretty good skating for KHL level. But he made a dozen of mistakes, too. Mostly he can lose the puck in OZ or sometimes he isn’t quick enough in DZ, so he isn’t a top D-man even on the team. He is fine in KHL, soild 7/10, but he is definitely not crushing the league like Mikko Lehtonen. I think, he needs a lot of time to become NHL level D-man, even KHL elite (although, most of best KHL’s Ds are imports).“
Alexeyev continued to play on the right side in the third defensive pairing for Salavat during the month of November.
Alexeyev turned 21 on November 15 and celebrated with friends and family.
Alexeyev moved up to the right side of second pair for one game on November 16. Alexeyev scored two goals in the first six minutes of the game on November 25 against Niznekamsk. Alexeyev also had an assist in the game.
Alexeyev’s first goal of the game came just 58 seconds into the contest, giving Salavat an early 1-0 lead. He would receive the puck at the right point, cross the ice and fire one from the top of the left circle for the score.
Alexeyev’s second score came at 5:19 of the second period. The score was very similar to the first, as Alexeyev received the puck at the top of the slot, moved to his left and fired a shot from the left dot, giving Salavat a 2-1 lead early in the first period.
Alexeyev was awarded the player of the game honors in the Salavat locker room. The player also gets to don the traditional Salavat hat.
Alexeyev was asked in an interview for the team website following the game if he was getting more comfortable playing in the KHL.
“Well, yes, with every game it gets better and better, I start to feel the game here in the KHL. The coaches trust, they say what to do, and I do it.”
Alexeyev was also asked about the fact he is on loan to Salavat and he might be returning to Washington soon.
“So far nothing has been said, nothing has been heard.”
After a mostly quiet month of November, Alexeyev’s two goals gqve him four goals and four assists on the season. His minutes have picked up in November as well. Defensively, Alexeyev continues to block shots and has become a solid characteristic of his play. [Click to enlarge]
ANALYSIS – Alexeyev has settled in on the right side of the third pair, where he has played for most of the games in November. Whether a request by the Capitals, or just based on defensive needs by Salavat, Alexeyev’s consistent play on the right side is a good sign for the Capitals, who are thin with right-side defensive prospects. After a down-turn for a good portion of the month, the Salavat head coach got on Alexeyev a bit, said he wasn’t jumping into the zone (among other rookie issues). Alexeyev scored two goals the next game. Alexeyev is still making mistakes in the three games we watched, but that is somewhat to be expected.
Alexeyev returned to the top pair on December 2 against Jokerit, but by default, as Helsinki authorities prohibited several Salavat players from playing within city limits. The subsequent statement from Salavat:
“Authorities of Helsinki unilaterally introduced restrictive measures against our team. By the decision of the authorities of Finland, only those who have required percent of antibodies to COVID-19 in their blood are allowed to play.”
“At the same time, HC “Salavat Yulaev” did not receive any warnings or recommendations on restrictive measures that are being introduced in the territory of Helsinki either from the representatives of the Finnish club or from the KHL.”
“Defenders Philip Larsen, Evgeny Biryukov, Alexei Semenov, forwards Ilya Baranov, Vladislav Kartaev and Danil Alalykin will not take part in the game. Management of club, part of the staff and administrative staff are also not allowed to enter the territory of the Arena”
As a result, Salavat would play with just 16 skaters. Salavat would lose the game, 3-1. Alexeyev played a whopping 27:12 and was a minus-3 for the game.
Otherwise, the month of December was really quiet for Alexeyev.
Alexeyev returned to the left side of the third defensive-pairing on December 21 against fellow Capitals prospect Aliaksei Protas and Dinamo Minsk, and remained in that role for the remainder of the month. He had been playing on the right side for the previous month.
For the month of December, Alexeyev had an assist and was an overall -1.
ANALYSIS – Alexeyev continues to struggle at times in his own end, but is slowly learning the KHL game. He continues to see significant minutes on both the power play and the penalty kill, and is getting around 18-20 minutes and 24 shifts of total ice time. This is exactly what he needs. He will not be attending Capitals training camp in January.
From Salavat/KHL scout Azamat Shavlukov – “He’s more solid now, much fewer giveaways. He had taken a couple of rough hits, but it seems he is healthy enough. He is [a] key Salavat player on the PK. But it should be noted, that last four games (including current against Sibir) Salavat became weak on the PK. Although, it is not necessarily his fault. He should shoot more.”
Alexeyev was not recalled for Capitals training camp in mid-January and remained with Salavat Yuleav Ufa in the KHL. He finished the last half of December playing on the left side and would switch back to the right side for the last half of the month.
Alexeyev scored his first goal since November 11 on January 14 against Barys. He returned to his off-side after spending a majority of recent games on the left side.
Алексеев 🔥 Просто смотрим 🎥 pic.twitter.com/k6nEvxgJUO
— ХК Салават Юлаев (@hcsalavat) January 14, 2021
Alexeyev would notch another tally the following game against Metallurg on January 16.
The 2018 first-round pick would score in his third consecutive game on January 19 against Servestal. Scorers would review the play and Alexeyev was asked after the game about the play, confirming he deflected the shot. He also made a nice play on an opposing rush, and got a piece of the shot.
As a result of his three consecutive games with a goal, Alexeyev was named KHL ‘Rookie Of the Week’ on January 19.
Alexeyev’s goal from January 14 was named the third-best goal of the week in the KHL on January 20.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) January 21, 2021
Alexeyev would cap-off a pretty good second half of January by scoring the overtime game-winner on January 30.
— KHL (@khl_eng) January 30, 2021
Alexeyev was named a “Rookie Of The Week” in the KHL for the week ending 1/30/3031. This was the third time Alexeyev won the award this season.
Defensively, in the four games we watched in January, Alexeyev’s game is showing early signs of coming around, with fewer blown assignments, and has been much more responsible in his own end. There is still work to be done, but the improvement is fairly evident.
Offensively for the month of January, Alexeyev recorded four goals and four assists. He recorded all four goals in the last seven games of the month. For the season, Alexyev has eight goals and eight assists, shooting 13.11% and is a plus-5 in 48 games played. He’s also been relatively injury-free, which has been a concern for Alexeyev in past seasons.
Here are Alexeyev’s game-by-game stats. (Click to enlarge)
Alexeyev’s shot characteristics for the season:
Game-By-Game Advanced stats for the season (Click to enlarge)
The honors keep coming for Washington Capitals’ defensive prospect Alex Alexeyev. After winning KHL Rookie of the Week twice in January, he was chosen as one of the KHL’s ‘Players of the Month’ for January. In addition, he represented Russia in the Third Stage of the Euro Hockey Tour that was played in Sweden from February 11 through 14.
Each month, the KHL announces ‘Players of the Month’ in each of the following categories: Best Goalie, Best Defenseman, Best Forward, and Best Rookie. For the month of January, Alexeyev won the award for Best Rookie.
Alexeyev talked about being named Player of the Week twice along with being named Rookie of the month in a recent interview for the KHL website.
“I was very pleased! Thanks to my partners for helping to achieve this goal. To be honest, I was surprised when I found out, because nothing like this has ever happened in my career.”
Alexeyev also discussed his impressive improvement during the month January.
“I don’t even know … To be honest, I noticed that throughout my entire hockey career there was always some kind of breakthrough after the New Year. Probably, I started to get used to it, I began to take the game more on myself, into my own hands. It started to work out, I felt confident, after which everything went by itself.”
From February 11-14, he was a member of the team representing Russia at the European World Tour Games that took place in Sweden. He played on the top defensive pairing for both of their first games against Finland (February 11) and their second game against Sweden (February 13) but did not play at all in their third and final game that was against the Czech Republic (February 14). In both of the games he played, he was -1 in Plus/Minus but was not perceived to be at fault. He scored no goals and recorded no assists. There was disappointment that he did not show the same level of offense in the tournament that he has shown for Salavat Yulaev Ufa, his KHL team. Team Russia won all three games of the tournament.
Alexeyev had a good regular-season campaign. Offensively, he recorded eight goals and eight assists in 55 games and became arguably one of Salavat’s best defenders by the end of the regular season. He also spent time playing on the right side for a good portion of the season, which will be very valuable to him and the Capitals down the line.
Alex Alexeyev and Salavat Yuleav Ufa advanced to the second round via shootout victory on March 11.
Salavat Yuleav Ufa was eliminated in the second round, thus ending Alexeyev’s KHL season. He finished the regular season with 8 goals and 8 assists in 55 games played and had one assist in nine games played in the post season.
Alexeyev, who has been susceptible to injury in the past, played a total of 64 games in the KHL this season with out any significant injuries. That’s the most games he’s played in a single season.
Alexeyev’s time in the KHL has been a tremendous boost to his overall development, while other prospects were struggling just to find games. He began the year on Salavat’s bottom pair, but made his way to the top pair for many games. Later in the season it was clear that the team trusted his defense to place him anywhere in the lineup, and he even played quite a few games in the right side. Several in the KHL media claimed Alexeyev was Salava’s best defender by the end of the season.
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke about prospects loaned to Europe in an interview with Capitals media in March. He said ”as teams finish in Europe, we’re gonna try and bring guys back and put them in Hershey to finish up the year in Hershey.”
After a successful season in the KHL, Alexeyev rejoined the Bears and made his season debut against Binghamton on April 17 and made an immediate impact. He gathered the puck at the blue line on the right side and carried the puck down the boards behind the net. He skated around the net to the far side near the left boards. Alexeyev then backhanded a cross-ice pass to Shane Gersich who converted for a goal from inside the right circle.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) April 17, 2021
The second-year blue liner came up clutch on April 24. He lasered a wrist shot with 3:30 left in the game to score the deciding goal in a 3-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) April 24, 2021
He added an assist on an empty net goal to finish with a multi-point game. The St. Petersburg, Russia native also collected an assist in his last two games of the month. He is currently on a three-game point streak. Alexeyev’s time in the KHL has given a new confidence and maturity to his game.
Alexeyev has fit right back into the locker room and he recently said that he is happy to have returned to the Bears. “It’s awesome actually to be back. I missed the boys,” Alexeyev said in his postgame media availability. “I missed Hershey, just an amazing atmosphere in here, in the Giant Center and in the dressing room. I missed all of them.”
Even after only a single game, Hershey head coach Spencer Carbery noticed the growth in the play of his defenseman. “There’s a bit of a maturation in his game. He seems a little more mature and more focused.” Carbery said of Alexeyev in an interview with Zach Fisch. “He just has this competitive vibe in him throughout practices. He still has that fun personality and great smile, that hasn’t changed, but now when the puck drops and we get into drills and you saw it in the game, he’s got a real determination in his game right now that seems like it is maturing. His game spoke for that. I thought he was really, really solid.” More on Alexeyev here.
After amassing six points in April, Alexeyev put up four points in May. He started the month off with a multi-point game at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on May 1. The Russian blue liner deposited a rebound off of a Kale Kessy shot to tie the game at two in the second period.
— NoVa Caps (@NoVa_Caps) May 1, 2021
Alexeyev then picked up the lone assist on Connor McMichael’s overtime game-winning goal. He posted two points in his final six games. The native of St. Petersburg, Russia played in all situations and was steady in his own zone. He was a plus 11 in 12 game played for the Bears.
Alexeyev benefitted from his time this season in the KHL. It gave him a confidence in his game that was evident in his play after he returned to Hershey. He also played with a level of joy. After the season finale, the Bears saluted their fans as the fans gave the players a standing ovation. Alexeyev was skating around urging the crowd to get louder. The second-year defenseman spent two months with Hershey and scored two goals and dished out seven assists. He was rewarded with a call up to the Capitals for their playoff run.
TRENDING – UP
The Capitals first round draft pick from the 2018 draft is likely still a year away from challenging for a roster spot in DC. Alexeyey was fun to watch this year in the KHL and in Hershey, and it’s clear he will eventually be a good-to-really good defenseman at the NHL level.
However, he’s still very young, struggled defensively this season, made mistakes in coverage and is still adapting to the faster and heavier game played at the pro level. He was even a healthy scratch for games. This is all to be expected. On the plus side, concerns regarding Alexeyev’s durability subsided a bit this season, as he played the most games (58 games) in a season in his career. His development is on track.
Alexeyev will return to Hershey when the AHL returns to play. He will continue to work on his play in his own zone and be looked up to be more of a leader in Hershey.
“I’d Never Had Grilled Cheese Before”: Capitals 2018 First-Round Pick Alexander Alexeyev Talks First Professional Season, Life in America, Alex Ovechkin, and More
Staying Healthy Will Be Top Priority For Alexander Alexeyev: An Examination Of His Injuries Over The Past Three Seasons
Bears Down Thunderbirds 5-2; Alex Alexeyev, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby Score
Thunderbirds Cage Bears 5-2; Alex Alexeyev Scores Second Career AHL Goal
Capitals Prospects Weekend Update: Alex Alexeyev Scores First Professional Goal; Connor McMichael Rolls
Alexander Alexeyev Scores First Professional Goal on First Career Shift in Hershey Bears’ Game Against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Capitals’ Defensive Prospect Alexander Alexeyev Reassigned To Hershey
Capitals’ Prospect Alexander Alexeyev Skates For First Time Since Suffering Upper-Body Injury In Prospect Tournament
Capitals’ Prospect Alex Alexeyev: “The Goal Is To Make The Team”
Capitals Prospect Alex Alexeyev Goes Down With Apparent Knee Injury
Capitals Sign Alexander Alexeyev To Three-Year Entry-Level Contract
Capitals Prospect Alexander Alexeyev Scores Twice Against Calgary Hitman
Capitals Prospect Alexander Alexeyev Named WHL Player Of The Week
Capitals Prospect Alexander Alexeyev Goes Down With Apparent Knee Injury
Capitals Prospect Alexeyev Makes Defenseman Fall Down, scores Goal For Team Russia
By Jon Sorensen