The now 25-year-old defenseman is in his eighth season in the KHL. Does anyone even remember that the Flyers still own his rights?
We wouldn’t blame you if you had no idea who Valeri Vasilyev was. In fact, we had no idea either when looking at a list of Flyers prospects. The defenseman was taken by the Flyers in the seventh round of the 2012 draft. Yes, we said 2012. It was a no-risk pick at that point.
Before the draft, Vasilyev was actually rated fairly high for a European skater. Despite a raw skill set, he had the physical profile of someone who could be drafted in either the second or third round. His rating dropped quickly when the draft came, however. A shoulder injury limited him to 18 games in 2011-12. So when the Flyers took him in the seventh round, they really weren’t risking anything.
Following the draft, he began the season with Spartak Moskva’s junior team in the MHL. At times a second pair defenseman, he posted two goals and four assists in 33 games. Vasilyev had a chance to play in the KHL towards the end of the season. He posted one assist in 11 games as an 18-year-old.
From then on, he became a consistent player in the KHL for a few different teams. He had played for Avangard Omsk, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, Severstal Cherepovets, and Metallurg Magnitogorsk. His most recent team was Amur Khabarovsk. He was 12th on the team in points and third among defensemen. He had six goals and five assists in 48 games.
The 25-year-old is in his eighth season in the KHL. His best year was in 2017-18 when he had 16 points in 43 games. Overall, he has 39 points in 231 career KHL regular-season games. Vasilyev has seen international time as well for Russia. With the U17, U18 and U19 squads, he failed to register a point in 12 total games.
Considering he was drafted by the Flyers in 2012 and remains unsigned, it is pretty much a guarantee he will never be seen in a Philadelphia uniform. An NHL uniform is even more unlikely. There hasn’t been much of a sign that Vasilyev has an interest in coming to North America.
It is always a risk when drafting players from the KHL. But seeing as the Flyers have plenty of talent in their organization at defense, Vasilyev likely wouldn’t have had anywhere to go.