Born in Germany to Russian parents, center Nikita Alexandrov has always been at the rink. His father, Igor, was a longtime staple in the DEL – hence the family’s move to Germany – and that meant introducing Nikita to a fascinating world. “He always took me for the end-of-the-morning skates and in the dressing room as well,” Alexandrov said. “It was really exciting seeing everyone, and that’s when I started loving this game.”
Of course, when your dad is a pro, it can sometimes be hard for a youngster to hear other voices on the bench. “He was always my main coach,” Alexandrov said. “When he was in the stands, I’d usually listen more to him than my real coaches. And it was a good decision to listen to him more.”
Alexandrov was selected 62nd overall by the Stanley Cup-champion Blues with their first pick in the 2019 draft. “He reminds me of Tyler Bozak,” said Blues assistant GM Bill Armstrong. “Very smart, heady player who can chip in with some goal-scoring and playmaking. Good skater. The one thing I love most about him is his hockey sense. He’s always in the right spot at the right time, and he wins faceoffs. He does all the little things.”
While his dad and older brother, Artyom, stayed in Europe for hockey – although Igor played one year with AHL Springfield in 1993-94 – Nikita set out for North America, where he’s in his third season with QMJHL Charlottetown. “I thought I would develop more as a player and a person,” he said.
And Alexandrov has loved the unique setting of Prince Edward Island. “It’s pretty fun, especially in the summer,” he said. “It’s warm, and there are a lot of beaches. The people are really nice. They’ve helped me a lot. It helped me get into my new life.”
Armstrong would like to see Alexandrov build up his strength and get more “weathering” over here, especially when it comes to the intensity needed for the pace of the North American game. But it’s fair to say Alexandrov already has a lot of tools to work with – and he’ll always have his dad in his corner. – Ryan Kennedy