The Nashville Predators selected future ace goaltender Yaroslav Askarov in the 1st round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft a month ago.

Then this past weekend, while representing his home country Russia in the Karjala Cup in Europe, Askarov showed just how dominant he can be.

Behind a 29 save shutout from Askarov, Russia beat Czech Republic 3-0 in the Karjala Cup final on Sunday night. In doing so, Askarov became the youngest goalie in Russian history to record a shutout.

And Askarov didn’t just excel in the final for Russia. He was arguably the best player in the tournament, recording three wins with a .962 save percentage in three games for Russia.

Askarov’s effort helped Russia secure their second win in three years at the tournament and continued the young goalie’s impressive career so far on the international stage.

Askarov hype building for Preds

When the Preds selected Askarov with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 draft, they knew they were getting one of the best goalie prospects in recent history.

So far, it looks like Askarov is living up to the hype.

In addition to his three game dominance for Russia at the Karjala Cup this week, he’s been outstanding for his home club of SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. So far he’s posted a .960 save percentage and a 1.10 goals allowed average in four games this season. The best save percentage in the KHL during the 2019-20 season was Alexander Samonov’s .947 mark, so Askarov is pacing well ahead of that.

But it’s not just Askarov’s on-ice ability that should give Preds fans hope. Take a look at the kid’s celebration after clinching a shootout win over Sweden.

The Nashville Predators are obviously still in good hands with Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros in net for the time being. And we might not see Askarov in Nashville for a couple years.

But if Askarov is able to bring some swagger to the Preds, in addition to some elite level play in the net, he will become a fan favorite in no time.

— Featured image via SKA Hockey Club — 


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