Red Deer Rebels star defenceman Alex Alexyeyev’s future is in flux right now.
Typically, when the major junior season ends for a signed NHL prospect, they are sent to the American Hockey League for some seasoning as the year winds down.
Alexeyev, a first-round pick, 31st overall in the 2018 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals, is still awaiting his fate.
The Russian blueliner was sidelined on March 8 after suffering a knee injury against the Brandon Wheat Kings. He missed the final four games of the regular season and four more in the playoffs. He was wearing a knee brace during Rebels’ exit interviews last week.
Likely, that was the last time Alexeyev will step foot inside the Centrium for a good chunk of time.
If this season was his last in Red Deer, it was a winding road for the standout rearguard.
Injuries and misfortune played a large part in Alexeyev’s time in Red Deer. This season he played 49 games, the most of his three-year stint after he was selected in the first-round, 49th overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft. He recorded 101 points in 135 games in a Rebels’ uniform. Of his 43 points in 49 games this year, many were recorded while drawing the top assignment on defence against the opponents best forward line.
He missed nearly a month last season when his mother passed away and suffered a shoulder injury as well, which limited him to 45 games in 2017-18. Because of injuries, he was only able to play three playoff games as a Rebel, in 2018 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes when he recorded a pair of goals and three assists.
“It’s how you get a strong character. You go through tough times and it’s how you become a man. You know how to live life and I think it’s a big time for me,” he said last week.
“It was tough but I came here to play hockey, that’s all I knew. I was proving myself. From there I went to learn English and all that. I’ve enjoyed all three years here, it was amazing.”
He’s still awaiting word for the Capitals about plans for the next month and beyond, but it seems he won’t play hockey until the fall.
Regardless of where he ends up on the ice next year, the St. Petersburg, Russia product insists he enjoyed his time here. He added that playing alongside veterans Brandon Hagel, Reese Johnson and Jeff de Wit was also a special experience.
“Just all the memories with the boys. All the time we spent together and all those good times,” he said of his best memories in Red Deer.
“I’ve played with them for three years. Each of them have given me advice about how to play (in the WHL). My first year with them was pretty good to play with them, it was my pleasure.”