Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vasilevskii Finessing His Way Up Charts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vasilevskii Finessing His Way Up Charts

Article excerpt

The first week of the Blues' training camp gave scouting director Ted Hampson a chance to size up long-term prospects in a big-league setting.

Who excited him?

"Alex Vasilevskii," Hampson said. "He is well ahead of schedule. He's got skills. He's got quickness. He moves the puck very quickly. He's a very good passer who sees the ice well."

Vasilevskii, 19, is a finesse winger from Ukraine. He played last season in Victoria, British Columbia, and is headed back to the Western Hockey League this season. He scored 85 points in 69 WHL games last season and dominated when Ron Caron, then the Blues' general manager, went to see him.

Chosen 271st in the 1993 National Hockey League draft, he could be the Blues' best pick yet from the former Soviet Union.

"He's not big, but he's not small," Hampson said. "He weighs 190. He was 170 when we drafted him, and he was about 190 in camp last year."

Defenseman Jamie Rivers, picked 63rd overall in 1993, is headed back to the Ontario Hockey League. He scored a staggering 121 points in 65 games for Sudbury last season and nearly got a contract from Chicago of the International Hockey League this summer.

He is listed at 185 pounds and needs to be closer to 200 to play in the NHL.

"We'd like to see him put some weight on," Hampson said. "But Jamie is not a big-framed guy. You're limited on how much weight you can put on by the frame you have. We've encouraged him to get his legs stronger. That's where you get most of your strength in hockey.

"He doesn't mind sticking his nose in there, and he has all kinds of offensive instincts. But he's still in the development stage."

Defensive-minded center Stephane Roy, a third-round pick in this summer's draft, did not look out of place at age 18. He is headed back to Val D'or of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he had 53 points in 72 games last season.

"He has a good skill level and is competitive," Hampson said. "He has things he has to work on, mostly his skating. I don't worry about his skating because he works so hard. Anybody who works hard is going to want to get better.

"He makes good decisions with the puck. …

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