Kazahkstan 2000-born center Andrei Buyalsky only came over to North America to play hockey ten weeks ago. In that span, he’s been signed to play college hockey with the Vermont Catamounts, averaged more than a point-per-game through 19 USHL games (ten goals, ten assists), and caught the attention of NHL scouts.
What immediately jumps out at you when you see his first shift is his speed – he is NHL calibre in that regard today. The fact that he is also 6-3 and plays center makes him an intriguing player to keep an eye on for the rest fo the USHL season. His first step is quick, and he has a long powerful stride, making him a handful for USHL defencemen as he streaks down the wing and heads to the net…often! He has been particularly hot lately, scoring seven goals in his last seven games, and 17 points in the past 12 contests for Dubuque.
The most common theme in the video highlights in Buyalsky heading to the net; no stopping up short to find a teammate or take a shot – it’s full steam ahead, shoulder down, and carry the puck towards the netminder… opposing defencemen be damned. There is more than a little bit of Josh Anderson in his style of game in that regard. He’s by no means an Anderson in terms of toughness or board work, but the speed and size make him hard to contain when he lowers his shoulder and heads to the goalie.
It will be interesting to see if he goes in the draft considering that he has already been passed over in three drafts. I have a feeling that his speed is going to intrigue more than a few NHL scouts.
Here is a video featuring many of his most noteworthy plays this season – most of them show off his tremendous skating ability. Enjoy!