Streaky Drozdetsky on the Upswing Again

By Bill Meltzer

Would the real Alexander Drozdetsky please stand up? Is the 21 year old CSKA winger closer to being the player that Flyers chief European scout Inge Hammarström compared on draft day 2000 to a young Igor Larionov or is more like countless prospects who have proven to be more about potential than performance?

It’s tough to “read” Drozdetsky based upon this season; his fourth in the Russian Super League (3rd with significant ice time). His overall performance suggests that he is improving steadily and is perhaps not too far behind Hammarström’s draft day prediction that within two years, Drozdetsky would be an NHL player. This season he has already set career highs with 10 goals and 20 points in 37 games– respectable, but far from league leading, totals in the low-scoring RSL.

Statistics, though, don’t really the story with Drozdetsky this season. He has been streaky to almost a ridiculous degree. In the first 9 games, he stormed out of the gates with 7 goals. By any league’s standards, that is a very impressive total.

But just as it seemed that the badly needed weight and muscle Drozdetsky put on (he is reportedly about 15 pounds heavier than his draft day weight of 174 pounds) had helped him rocket launch his career, Drozdetsky’s offensive game went dormant. Not for two games. Not for two weeks. It was for two months. He went scoreless for a frightening 26 games, managing a meager haul of 8 assists. Even in the RSL, that simply won’t cut it for a player now being counted on to be a key offensive contributor.

It has been reported of Drozdetsky that as goes his self-confidence in the attack zone, so goes his all-around game. When he’s feeling strong and creative offensively, he skates with extra zip in all three zones. When his confidence lags, his entire game falls off a notch.

Although the once-mighty CSKA club as a whole has fallen on hard times, Drozdetsky was far from blameless in the team’s struggles. Far too often this season, the former Red Army club has found itself trying in futility to play come-from-behind hockey. CKSA has a habit of blowing good scoring chances early in games and then seeing the puck come back the other way and winding up in their net. Most of the time, it has not been goalie Dusan Salficky’s fault; CSKA has been plagued by team breakdowns all year.

Of late, Drozdetksy himself has gotten hot again offensively. CSKA is still not winning games and they are buried too far in the standings to do much of anything but play out the string (they are 13 points shy of the last playoff spot). At least Drozdetsky hasn’t shown that he’s ready to pack it in yet. After finally breaking his long scoring drought, Drozdetsky has gone on to score goals in three straight games. Hopefully he can continue to score and at least close out the season on the same promising note it began.