This German’s a Russian. He’s a man with exceptional vision who can set up the play with the best of them. Unfortunately, a national-team doping scandal might affect his draft position this June.
Here’s everything you need to know about 2016 NHL Draft prospect German Rubtsov.
Age on June 24: 18
Current Team: Russian U18
Weight: 174 pounds
From: Chekhov, Russia
NHL Central Scouting Rank (Europe): 5th
Jeff Marek’s Take: Strong two-way centre with a better defensive game than offensive. He’s the guy you must have on the ice when you’re protecting a lead.
He’s a playmaker…
All the prospect reports boast about Rubtsov’s ability to see the play develop, making him a gifted setup man. He’s also got a nifty pair of hands with which to work.
“A very intelligent player with a high-level sense of hockey and understanding the game,” says Alessandro Seren Rosso of hockeyprospectus.com.
“He’s a 200-foot player who is good in all three zones,” Seren Rosso adds.
Rubtsov was the second-highest scoring player on the Russian U18 team this season, notching 12 goals and 14 assists in 28 games.
Down a peg…
The Under-18 World Championship is the best opportunity for NHL teams to gauge draft-eligible European talent, but a doping scandal disqualified the entire Russian national from the tournament this season.
“It definitely hurts [their draft ranking] from my standpoint,” Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray told James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail newspaper. “I’ve only seen Rubtsov once and the others zero times. My scouts have seen them, but a late, positive viewing goes a long way. It’s human nature.”
Strong international resume…
Rubtsov won a gold medal with Russia at the 2014 Under-17 World Championship, scoring a goal and four assists in six games at the tournament.
Then in 2015, he scored a goal and three assists in five games to help Russia capture a bronze medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.
Two-way game pays dividends…
If there’s one thing to really like about this player, it’s that he knows how to play at both ends of the rink.
“What is clearly apparent to us is how ‘North American’ his overall game is,” reads the report over at thedraftanalyst.com. “He’s arguably the 2016 draft’s best two-way forward.”
Will that be enough to have him go in the first round? If not, Rubtsov represents a tremendous pick to obtain in Round 2.