The very Canadian forward with the very Russian name, Boris Katchouk is an intriguing prospect who some expect to go late in the first round, while others wouldn’t be surprised if he fell into the third.
So who is this scorer from the OHL and what is his connection with the Maple Leafs? Here’s what you need to know about Boris Katchouk.
Age on June 24: 18
From: Waterloo, Ont.
Current Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, OHL
Position: Left wing
Weight: 190 pounds
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North American): 25th
His mother is an Olympic athlete…
Before Boris came along his mother, Elena Toumanova, represented the Soviet Union in speed skating at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary. She placed 15th in the 1,500 metre, ninth in the 3,000 and 15th in the 5,000.
Both of his parents are Russian, although his father passed away when Katchouk was just one.
He says his parents moved to Canada for work in 1992 and arrived in Montreal, where one of his brothers was born. After that, they moved to Vancouver, where he was born, and then they finally settled in Waterloo, Ontario.
Strong all-around game, but what’s his ceiling…
By all accounts, Katchouk is a tenacious forechecker, smart on defence and the sense to find the open man and understand where the play is going next. He played Jr. A in 2014-15, but that had more to do with the fact he didn’t crack a stacked Sault Ste. Marie OHL team than anything negative in his game. He did make the OHL lineup this season and scored 24 goals, 51 points in 63 games to finish sixth in rookie OHL scoring.
The issue comes when you try to project his offensive potential at the NHL level. Yes he’s a smart player and yes he’s good on defence, but those aspects alone will translate to the upside of a bottom-six checker. If we’re talking about Katchouk as a first round NHL Draft prospect, the acquiring team will want offence, and there are questions around his shot, and whether it’s good enough to be effective against some of the top competition in the world.
Katchouk has played once for Canada and it came at this year’s Under-18 World Championship in April. There, against good competition, he scored one goal and one assist in five games.
However, it is worth noting that in 12 playoff games with the Greyhounds this spring, Katchouk led his team with six goals and was second with 10 points. Both of those totals were higher than 2015 NHL Draft first-rounder Zachary Senyshyn.