We begin our annual prospect review and forecast series for the 2022 off-season with 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, 22, 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 $863,333 AAV. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 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.
The 2021-22 season was an underwhelming campaign for the defenseman, as all offensive stats dropped, and defensive issues resurfaced. Offensively, he had just one goal and 18 assists in 68 games played. Alexeyev spent a significant amount of time on the right side again this season, a possible indication of things to come in Washington.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Alex Alexeyev during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
After posting nine points in 12 games last season, Alexeyev has yet to find his offensive game this season. His lone point of October came on a primary assist on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s first period goal against Syracuse on October 27. The Russian blue liner has seen time on the second power play unit and has been part of Hershey’s effective penalty kill. He still makes mistakes defensively with his positioning and his decisions with the puck, but he is improving in those areas. Alexeyev has been playing his off side, the right, but he has experience doing so because he played on the right side at times in the KHL last season.
Alexeyev’s offensive game has disappeared. The Russian defender had nine points in 17 games with the Bears last season, but has only recorded points in two games so far this season. He dished out a pair of secondary assists in the third period against Springfield on November 7. Alexeyev was held without a point in the last seven games of the month.
He has also been taking a lot of penalties. The St. Petersburg, Russia native has been whistled for a penalty in five straight games and in six of his last seven. Alexeyev was tossed from the game on November 26 against the Rochester Americans a for secondary altercation.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) November 27, 2021
With Hershey’s recent difficulties on the penalty kill, Alexeyev taking penalties is a problem for the Bears. He has had coverage and positioning issues defensively, and that has led to some of his penalties. Alexeyev has also turned the puck over more than we;ve grown accustomed to.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) November 6, 2021
Its a very slow start for Alexeyev, considering where his game was at the end of last season and in the KHL last season. He’s got plenty of time this season to turn things around and is expected to do just that.
Alexeyev continued his sluggish start to the season for the first half of December. He would finally pot his first goal of the season on December 12 against the Laval Rocket. He corralled a pass from Cody Franson that bounced off the left boards, powered his way towards the goal and roofed his shot under the crossbar to the shortside. The marker was Alexeyev’s lone point of the month.
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) December 12, 2021
He continues to struggle to find the offensive game he showed in last year’s COVID-shortened season. The good news is Alexeyev turned his defensive game around in December. He entered the month with a minus four rating after being a minus player for six of 10 games in November. Alexeyev posted a plus five rating in December and was not a minus player in any game. His game settled down in his own end and he was scrambling less and making fewer defensive blunders. He made his NHL debut on December 29 for the Capitals.
The Russian defender had his most productive offensive month of the season. Alexeyev assisted on five Hershey goals in the month to run his season point total to nine. He snapped a six-game scoreless drought with a pair of assists at Syracuse on January 7. A five-game scoreless streak followed.
Alexeyev broke that stretch with the secondary assist on Axel Jonsson-Fjallby’s first period power play goal against the Hartford Wolfpack on January 22. He had two assists the next night against those same Wolfpack, but was out of position on Hartford’s game-winning goal late in the third period. Alexeyev got caught on the ice for too long of a shift and drifted too high. He left the game against Bridgeport on January 29 with an upper body injury.
Alexeyev dished out four assists in eight games played in February and has recorded nine of his 13 points since the calendar flipped to 2022. He has not scored a goal since December 12, but has 12 assists on the season. Alexeyev is on a three-game assist streak.
Defensively, the St. Petersburg, Russia native has seen more responsibility. He has been paired with Lucas Johansen for much of the month and the duo has been a solid pairing for the Bears.
Alexeyev’s shot blocking has been excellent, especially on the penalty kill. He had two key blocks against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on February 22 as Hershey killed off a high-sticking double minor in the first period. Alexeyev also got in the way of a shot when the Bears were down two men in the first period against Utica on February 27.
Alexeyev entered March on a three-game assist streak, but opened the month by going five games without a point. He snapped the drought on March 13 versus Lehigh Valley. He started the play on Marcus Vela’s game-winner in the second period and earned the secondary assist. His only other point of the month was a primary assist on Mason Morelli’s second period tally in Hartford on March 26.
Alexeyev still has only one goal on the season in 55 games and that came all the way back on December 12. The blue liner has contributed 14 helpers on the season. Defensively, Alexeyev is one of the team’s top shot blockers. He consistently throws his body in front of shots, especially on the penalty kill.
Alexeyev had four helpers in April to tie a career high in assists with 18. The biggest of those assists was a secondary helper on Mason Morelli’s overtime goal against Springfield on April 10. He netted a single goal this season and that came on December 12.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) April 5, 2022
The former first rounder is on a 49-game goalless streak. Alexeyev ended the regular season with 19 points in 68 games.
— Capitals Prospects (@jon_m_sorensen) April 24, 2022
The strongest part of the blue liner’s game is his shot blocking. He consistently comes up with big shot blocks, especially on the penalty kill.
Alexeyey was fun to watch in the KHL and in Hershey in 2020-21, and it’s clear he will eventually be a good-to-really good defenseman at the NHL level. However, as previously noted, his 2021-22 season was a step sideways or even backwards. This could be due to a number of factors, but in the end, after watching all of his games this season, I’ve come to the conclusion that Alexeyev has maxed out his development value in the AHL.
Alexeyev climbed to the top of his team’s defensive pairings during his one season in the KHL in 202-21. By the end of the season, he won rookie award and his coaches trusted him on the backend on both sides and raved about his development. To me, this is a better indicator of where Alexeyev sits with regards to his development and NHL-readiness. We saw similar development characteristics out of Jonas Siegenthaler, who frankly struggled in Hershey and is now a top defenseman in the NHL.
Alexeyev will battle with Lucas Johansen for a spot on the Capitals roster this fall because of the likely departures of Michal Kempny and Justin Schultz. He should be given a 7th or 8th defensemen role to start the season, and given the opportunity to stick with the team. He’s ready.
By Jon Sorensen
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Staying Healthy Will Be Top Priority For Alexander Alexeyev: An Examination Of His Injuries Over The Past Three Seasons
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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