Here is a look at Red Deer’s two draft-eligible defencemen from a game versus Calgary on Feb. 21:
Alexander Alexeyev – Red Deer Rebels
Alexeyev has been a hard player to scout this season, not only because he has missed a lot of games (some of which was due to injury, but he also recently took personal leave to return to his native Russia to tend to the untimely death of his mother), but on this occasion because he didn’t seem to be at 100% even though he was in the lineup.
Normally a player that logs a lot of minutes for Red Deer, Alexeyev didn’t play all that much this game, including on special teams. He also didn’t look quite right when he was on the ice, as he wasn’t moving his feet a lot and didn’t generate a lot of power or speed when he did.
His hands were still working, though, as he was whipping heavier passes than anyone else on his team and showed off some impressive deftness with the puck on his stick, using his reach to swing the puck away and around forechecking opponents.
His one-on-one defensive play didn’t look great, (on one Hitmen goal he got worked over down low and failed to cut off a pass from his man), but again, he seemed to be laboring a bit with what he was trying to do.
It was a tough individual game to get a good read on Alexeyev, but his combination of size and puck skills are still intriguing enough to make him a player worth watching closely the remainder of the year.
Dawson Barteaux – Red Deer Rebels
Even when Alexeyev isn’t in the lineup, the Rebels still have another very intriguing defence prospect worth scouting in Dawson Barteaux.
Barteaux is something of a jack-of-all-trades, as he doesn’t really stand out in any specific areas, but seems to be able to do a little bit of everything reliably well.
He’s not a true burner of a skater and doesn’t generate a lot of power in his stride right now, but he can hit a nice top gear when he has the time and space. He’s also light on his feet and has a fluidity to his movement, allowing him to turn quickly and navigate tight traffic. He protects the puck well, taking a couple steps to maintain separation and turning his body to shield the puck if he runs out of space, and does a great job of knowing where his options are if he needs to make a pass. There were no instances in this game in particular where he made the wrong pass or coughed up the puck under pressure.
Barteaux isn’t the quickest backward skater, though he does keep a good gap and breaks up plays well with his stick. He doesn’t look to make a big hit or instigate any rough stuff in scrums, but he does use his body well to tie up opponents and box them out of the crease.
What makes Barteaux especially intriguing is that his frame is still slight and scrawny. Once he fills out, including adding more strength in his legs, he could be a blueliner that logs a lot of minutes in all situations and efficiently drives possession at even strength.
It looks unlikely at this point that Barteaux will reach a true Top 4 role in the NHL; however, he does seem to have the potential, if everything goes according to plan, of developing into a Trevor van Riemsdyk type of player, someone that can play a regular shift in a support role and hold his own in most situations.