Photo Credit – Rena Laverty
Sasha Pastujov, a 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect, is a 17-year old left-winger currently playing for the United States National U-18 team. Pastujov hails from Northville, Michigan, and played his youth hockey for Detroit-area powerhouse teams such as Belle Tire 13U and Compuware 14U/16U AAA.
During his minor hockey career, Pastujov really took off during the 2017-18 season while playing for Compuware 14U AAA. He scored 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in only 20 games. He completed his first season with the USNTDP in 2019-20, scoring 14 goals and registering 36 assists for 50 points in 49 games. In addition, Pastujov managed another nine goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 29 games played during USNTDP USHL play.
So far this season, Pastujov is off to an amazing start for the U18 program, tallying 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points in 13 games. He’s currently leading the U18’s in points, with his longtime teammate and 2021 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Duke hot on his tail. Pastujov has also totalled 4 PIM thus far in 2020/2021.
For the 2021-22 season, Pastujov is committed to the University of Notre Dame, where he’ll play under Head Coach Jeff Jackson. Surprisingly, Pastujov chose to take his talents to Notre Dame, rather than joining his brothers Nick and Michael at the University of Michigan. He’ll look to help bolster a Notre Dame team who have struggled since their NCAA National Title loss in 2018.
D.O.B – July 15, 2003
Nationality – United States
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –181 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Pastujov’s Style Of Play
Watching Sasha Pastujov’s game film from the past two seasons should excite any hockey fan, coach, executive or GM in any league. Pastujov is an elite passer of the puck, and is a driving force in the offensive zone. He plays with a glowing sense of confidence, and has given coaches/scouts many highlight reel goals during his time at the USNTDP. Aside from his talented skills in the offensive zone, Pastjuov possesses a ridiculously high hockey IQ. The way he can pick out a teammate streaking down towards the slot and deliver a crisp pass on the tape from the opposite circle is mind-blowing. Let’s dive into the more refined aspects of Sasha Pastujov’s game.
Arguably the most impressive trait in his game, Pastujov is an excellent skater. His edge work is among the best in the 2021 Draft Class, and is very capable of changing directions on a dime, all while maintaining possession of the puck. He can generate an adequate amount of space for himself in all three zones of the ice with a simple head fake or shoulder dip. Pastujov’s agility is another quality aspect of his skating that allows him to create rushes in transition with ease. He is quite strong on his skates, which makes entering the offensive zone a hassle for defenders. While Pastujov has an adequate amount of speed cruising through the neutral zone, he could benefit from working on his explosiveness, as well as his takeoffs. As he develops during his time with the USNTDP and UND, with a little added muscle and explosiveness, Pastjuov can become a dynamic skater.
Pastujov is an elite-level dual threat left-winger who can stickhandle in a phone booth and search out teammates with poise. In my opinion, he’s on the shortlist for Best Passers in the 2021 Draft Class, and can handle the puck at an elite level. Pastjuov has an incredible sense of awareness to put himself in opportune positions to either score or set up a teammate with a tap-in scoring chance. Sasha is the most offensively-gifted out of his two brothers, and can score from all regions in the offensive zone. Pastjuov is very effective from the hashmarks in to the net, as he has scored a fair chunk of his goals the past two seasons in close. He’s also a force on the powerplay, as he can usually be found setting up shop in the high slot, or along the half-wall, ready to unleash a beautiful pass to a teammate or to bury the puck on his own. Pastjuov could also benefit his draft stock by using his shot a little more, which he has been improving on this season for the U18’s. Perhaps the most impressive part of Pastjuov’s offensive game is his motor. He has a “wont-quit” attitude when it comes to keeping the puck in the offensive zone, where he sees the majority of his ice time (~52%), which is aided by the fact he’s seeing almost four minutes of power play ice time per game (03:52min/game). Pastujov also boasts an incredible ability to go end-to-end, weaving through the opposing team, which NHL front offices will certainly be impressed by.
Like most players that come out of the USNTDP, Pastujov is a well-rounded player. Even though he will be the most productive in the offensive zone, he is more than capable of being relied upon to help defend, either on the PK, or in general. Pastujov is more than capable of being a pest while covering the point, not giving much space to the opponents defensemen. He saw almost one minute of PK ice time last season (00:58/min/game), and was fairly successful on face-offs, swell (50% success rate). However, his defensive game could use a little work, mainly when it comes to controlling the puck on zone exits, as well as being stronger on the puck along the half-wall in his own zone. Though, it’s yet to really be seen so far how much the U18’s plan to use him in defensive situations.
As previously mentioned, Pastjuov seems to have a fairly rounded game. That being said, he’s still a developing prospect, and there are parts of his game which still need some tweaking. For example, he could benefit a lot from using his shot more, which is quite lethal. His goal scoring numbers could potentially skyrocket. Also, his skating stride could use some more explosiveness off the hop. Perhaps some time spent in the gym during the offseason will add some extra burst for a player who can fly down the wing when in full motion. Although these are minor areas where Pastujov can improve, he’s an incredibly skilled prospect.
To sum things up, Sasha Pastujov looks like a force to be reckoned with when it comes to 2021 NHL Draft offensive prospects. It wouldn’t shock me to see a team take a shot at him as high as ~12th overall, but I believe his window to be selected lies within the 16-24th overall pick range.
Matthew Tkachuk – LW, Calgary Flames
Watching several of Sasha Pastujov’s games from the past few seasons reminded me a lot of a certain Calgary Flames left-winger, Matthew Tkachuk. Both players have excellent hockey sense, prefer to be more of a pass-first teammate, and both have a rough, physical aspect to their game. Also, both have an incredible shot, but may not always look to use it as their first option. If Pastujov can add some size and follow a similar career trajectory to Tkachuk, I’m sure whichever team that selects him is going to walk away from the first round more than pleased.
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Paul Zuk. If you would like to follow Paul on Twitter, his handle is @paulzuk_81.
Looking for other scouting reports? Check out the Prospects tab for our other scouting reports.
Need a scouting report on a particular prospect, contact us today!