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Ivan Barbashev, the 1st overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft is a Moskva, Russia native. He may face questions about the “KHL factor” even though he is currently playing in the CHL for the Moncton Wildcats. Barbashev had 25 goals and 68 points in 48 games for Moncton. Though his team fell in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs, it certainly wasn’t of any fault of Barbashev who scored four goals and 10 points in just six games.
Internationally Barbashev played at the 2013 Under 18 World Championships where he put up nine points in seven games. He also played in the 2014 World Juniors, but had a rather forgettable tournament from an individual perspective. However this is a tough tourney for 17-year-olds so I won’t really hold it against him in his rankings.
Left Wing/centre — shoots Left
Born Dec 14 1995 — Moscow, Russia
Height 6.01 — Weight 190 [185 cm/86 kg]
Ivan Barbashev is a pure sniper, he has a great arsenal of shots with a terrific wrister, slapshot, snapshot, backhand and one-timer. These shots also feature an excellent release which can fool goalkeepers and the puck will be in the back of the net before he knows it. Barbashev also has good stickhandling skills, and the creativity and vision to make passes which surprise opponents and set up teammates for easy goals. When he doesn’t have the puck, he does a good job in finding open areas, and easy passing lanes for a teammate to get him the puck. He reads the play well and has a high hockey IQ.
Barbashev’s skating continues to improve. He has always had good top-end speed, but has really improved his first step quickness and acceleration as this season has gone on, adding a new dimension to his game. Barbashev has very good agility and combines this with his great stickhandling to elude defenders. His strength on the puck and balance have also really improved this year, and it seems that he has added a lot of core strength which makes him harder to knock off the puck.
Defensively he has also improved this season, as he backchecks harder and has really improved in his positioning and at cutting down passing and shooting lanes. The consistency in which he is doing this has also improved as there are less and less games where his effort level is questioned. Still needs to continue to work on his faceoff skills, but for someone who spent most of his first CHL season on the wing, and only really moved to centre part way through last season, that should be expected. The QMJHL is one of the few leagues to keep faceoff stats at the junior level, and Barbashev was 46% on the year.
I would compare Barbashev’s style to Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks. That is purely a style comparison though, and not a skill one. In terms of potential Barbashev has the ability to be a top-6 player at the next level if he reaches his ceiling. I think it is more likely that his future is at centre, instead of on the wing, as long as he can improve those faceoff skills. He has the vision, the defensive responsibility, and the skating ability to be very effective at centre.
Here are some highlights of Barbashev in action:
Check back tomorrow for my #16 ranked prospect.
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