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Sergei Potvinov Draft Profile

1,026 words. Double draft media.

Sergei Potvinov, the Russian born goalie, measures in at 6'2 and 190 lbs.  That wasn't always the case in the small town of Innopolis.  He was small in stature when he was young.  In fact, he was born two months premature and had to spend the first few months of his life in an incubator.  He was always the smallest of all the neighborhood kids, which had its advantages, since he’d play against higher skilled peers than someone his age normally would have.  
Sergei grew up as an only child and his mother passed away when he was only 6.  His father never got over the death and became a shell of the man he once was.  He no longer showed love like he used to and instead, he became bitter and hated life.  Even through that hate, he loved his son and tried to do the best he could for his son. 
They lived in less than ideal situations.  Potvinov was always quick on his feet but his father couldn't afford skates.  Instead, he improvised by tying two sharpened pieces of metal to the bottom of young Sergei’s shoes.  This allowed him to learn and play the game of hockey, but it also affected his skating ability.  
Even though his skating isn't ideal, he knew he wanted to play professional hockey.  He sent demo tapes of his games in Russia to the only team he could afford to send them to in the SMJHL, which happened to be located in Anchorage, Alaska.  He was discovered about midway into S51 of the SMJHL by the Armada and was signed for the remainder of the season and promised the back-up role.  He ended up playing in 11 games, and while his stats weren't stellar, he never gave up, never got frustrated or blamed anyone else.  Instead, he dug his feet in and practiced even harder.  This paid off in the playoffs where Potvinov ended up getting into a playoff game.  He may have gotten the loss, but he ended up with a save percentage of .923 and 1.32 GAA in 45 minutes of playing time.  Not only did Sergei go from Innopolis to Anchorage, he was also part of a special Armada team that won the 4 Star Cup!
Potvinov was selected to try-out for the Russian team, and would have made it as the back-up, however, at the last minute it was decided that two other countries, Latvia and Czechoslovakia, would join the Russian national team to form Team UCORCAL.  Potvinov, being the humble player that he is, gave up his ticket to another goalie from another country so that this newly formed squad could have a chance to win gold.  Because of his selfless act, he was asked to be the co-GM of this team and will still end up getting to go the games after all in support of his fellow countrymen.
Scouting report
First and foremost, Potvinov is quick.  His speed is incredible, and he can slide post to post faster than anyone has seen before.  He can also drop to his knees and get back up on his skates in one fluid motion, which has earned him the nickname of Sergei Froginov.  His hand speed has been improving on a daily basis as has rebound control and style control.  He is constantly trying to improve which has been a pleasant surprise to his teammates.
He plays a butterfly style, which is a step away from the new hybrid style that many of the new goalies have, and a far cry from the stand-up style that many of the older veterans used.  He seems to see the game in slow motion which allows him to be in the right place at the right time.  He still has a lot to improve upon, but he is more than willing to put the work in to become an all-time great at his position.
As stated earlier, skating is Potvinov's main weakness, but he has been working at it and many have said that it has actually become his strongest attribute recently.  He has been known to work on his weaknesses more than his strengths in order to improve on every aspect of his game equally.
Positives and negatives
We'll start with the positives.  Potvinov has the potential and the drive to become an elite goalie one day.  He sees the plays developing, has solid positioning and a has been labeled as one of the hardest workers on and off the ice.  He's been able to take what he's been given and mold it to make him even better.
The negatives are that he is still learning the language.  He’s able to communicate with his teammates and the coaching staff on the ice, but off has been a bit of a struggle.   The difference in the culture and trying to get used to the smaller rinks of the SMJHL have also had a slight effect on him.  Those will all come in due time and should not be a cause for concern.
Potvinov has the potential to be a starter in the a few seasons.  But for now, he should end up sharing the load with Ian Venables in Anchorage this season before becoming the full-time starter.  As a starter, it remains to be seen where his potential lies.  Some scouts have said that he isn't anything special and won't be more than an average starter at best, while others have said that he could end up being the best goalie from this draft class in few years, if all goes well in his development.
No one is sure where Potvinov will end up getting taken.  Rumors have swirled that he could go anywhere from the mid second round to potentially the very last pick in the draft.  Wherever he ends up going, he will still have to continue to improve his game in the SMJHL for the Armada for a few seasons before he gets his cup of coffee.  Until then, keep your eye on this Russian wall, as the possibilities of what he might end up doing are endless.

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Sig by Carpy48
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Sig by Carpy48

Love this, solid read. ++1

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