WILMINGTON, Mass. — The cloud of mystery hiding Boston Bruins prospect Yuri Alexandrov from observers outside the organization has been lifted this week during the club’s Third Annual Development Camp at Ristuccia Arena.
And so far the defenseman who the Bruins selected 37th pick overall in 2006 has fit right in with his fellow rookies during both hockey and power skating drills. He’s shown decent strength and mobility for a 6-foot, 185-pound 21-year-old. Today, with the help of skating instructor Victor Teleguine’s translation, Alexandrov also revealed his high expectations for his future.
“He has the same stick, same curve like (Detroit star Nicklas) Lidstrom. So the player he’s most like is Lidstrom, his favorite player,” Teleguine explained about Alexandrov’s response to a question about who he compares to in the NHL.
Although the Bruins have held two development camps since acquiring Alexandrov’s rights, this is the first time he’s attended. Teleguine explained that that was more a result of a miscommunication than any reflection on Alexandrov’s desire to come to North America. With no IIHF transfer agreement between the NHL and the Russian Federation, that’s not hard to believe. Now the lines of communication are open and the Bruins can figure into Alexandrov’s plans.
“Yes, for sure, it’s the best league in the world and any player, it’s a dream to play at the NHL level,” said Alexandrov through Teleguine.
A shoulder injury limited Alexandrov to 26 games for Cherepovets of the KHL. But Bruins Director of Hockey Operations Don Sweeney said that when healthy the blueliner was getting a lot of ice time and holding his own against bigger, stronger and older men.
If there’s any knock on Alexandrov right now, he’s a bit on the gangly side. But that’s to be expected and something that can be rectified, especially once he gets onto a North American weight program.
“From the progression I’ve seen, from when I saw him in the World Juniors a couple years ago, I think he’s made some real nice strides,” Sweeney said. “He’s physically fit. He needs to probably add some bulk, some strength, in order to play (in the NHL). But he’s been playing against men, so I think he understands that and he’s probably smarter on the ice from that standpoint. But off the ice he can still put in some work in that area.”
Alexandrov has one more year left on his KHL deal, so it’s unlikely he’ll be playing over here this season. But now the Bruins have made the necessary inroads to get him in the fold for 2010-11. Wherever he plays, including this camp, Alexandrov knows what he has to work on to improve.
“All sides, not just something … work as much as he can,” he said through Teleguine. “Including everything, so physical condition, skating, pick up more experience for the highest level of play.”