Anton Slepyshev is one of the big sleepers of the early rounds. He is a very skilled young winger who played in the KHL last year as a 17 year old. He isn't very strong yet so defenders are able to separate him from the puck easier than you would like, but his offensive skill set is reportedly immense. His seven points in 39 games in the KHL may not seem impressive, but it's in line with what Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov produced at the same age. As with all Russian prospects the KHL is looming large over Slepyshev's draft prospects.
Left Wing / Metallurg Novokuznetsk / KHL
May 13, 1994
Hometown: Penza, Russia
|2011-12 Metallurg Novokuznetsk||39||4||3||7||-8||2||--||4||0||2||2||-||8|
|2011-12 Russia U18
Craig Button: 57th
Hockey Prospectus: 17th
What do they say about them?
Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus: (Yes, this is long. But it's worth every second you spend reading it.)
Slepyshev is one of the rare 17-year-old forwards who has been able to step into the KHL and produce, albeit at a marginal level. His production is along the lines of what elite prospects Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko did in their 17-year-old seasons, though, for example. Slepyshev is an above-average skater who is tremendously agile and is also able to get up to a notable top gear. When you combine his great agility with the fact he has high-end puck skills, he really is a nuisance to check. Slepyshev is very effective at dodging opponents and creating space for himself. I've seen times on penalty kills where he would dance around the opposing zone for 15-25 seconds because several opponents keep missing him. Slepyshev has a plus if not near that shot and he knows it, as he has a shoot-first mentality with the ability to score from way out. He can still make plays and doesn't have tunnel vision, but I wouldn't classify him as a playmaker. Slepyshev's physical game needs some work as while he's average-sized, he's got a bean pole frame and can easily be pushed off the puck. He will show some physical effort, although that at times could be better, and has some defensive value too, but his strength level is way behind where it needs to be.
The KHL will undoubtedly be of concern for NHL teams when weighing their options with Slepyshev, but on talent alone, he has certainly proven himself as a 1st rounder in this draft. Slepyshev is a dynamic winger who has slick puckhandling skills and loves to showcase them when he has the opportunity. He has NHL size and has proven himself against professional players as a 17-year-old which bodes well moving forward as he finds more comfort. Slepyshev could be a good gamble for a team drafting in the late 1st round that can afford to be patient with him over the next several years, otherwise he likely has limited appeal for teams looking for a player who is committed to the organization from the outset.
Everything you read makes it pretty clear that if Slepyshev were any nationality other than Russian he would be a relatively high first round pick. He's big (although weak at the moment), talented with the puck, can skate, and even has some defensive ability to go with his offensive zone abilities. He's going to fall though. A team late in the first or early in the second that values his upside could take a flier on his desire to come to North America.
Whether or not the Stars would be interested in his services remains to be seen, but he could be an option for them should they be interested with their 2nd round pick. The Stars are definitely a team in need of upside. Will they be willing to take a risk on a player like Slepyshev should he make it to their 2nd rounder? Probably not, but weirder things have happened.