German Rubtsov Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #21

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Following good showings at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and the 2015 IIHF Under 18 World Championships (as an underager), as well as the Ivan Hlinka last summer, German Rubtsov had established himself as the centre piece in Russia’s new Under-18 Development Team program.  The plan for the program was to send the U18 team the his year’s IIHF tournament, however following a scandal where a number of players tested positive for performance enhancing drugs; reportedly meldonium, the team was replaced by the under-17 edition.  The Russian hockey federation has not released the names of those players who tested positive, so there is no way of knowing if Rubtsov is involved in the scandal or not.

Rubtsov has put up good numbers domestically with 26 points in 28 games for the team in MHL play. On the international stage Rubtsov was especially impressive at the World Junior A Hockey Challenge where he had two goals and six points in four games, as the Russians took home the silver medal.  He put up four points in five games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament.

German Rubtsov Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #21

Centre — Shoots Left
Born June 27 1998 — Chekhov, Russia
Height 6’01” — Weight 174 lbs [186 cm / 79 kg]

German Rubtsov plays a strong two-way game, highlighted by his strong hockey sense. Offensively he makes smart plays with the puck, showing off good vision, and excellent anticipation of where his teammates will be. This makes him a very good playmaker. Rubtsov has the ability to control and protect the puck with excellent stick handling. He is very patient and slows the game down, waiting for teammates to get open and then making tape-to-tape passes to the now open teammates. He also has the ability to find soft areas in the defence and get open to make a play, or take a one-timer. He has a good arsenal of shots, including a strong wrist shot, snap shot and slap shot. He gets his shots off quickly with an excellent release.  Rubtsov shows a high compete level, he battles hard for loose pucks and is effective at forcing defencemen into mistakes on the forecheck.

Rubtsov is a good skater.  He has the ability to handle the puck well moving at top speed.  His shiftiness and excellent agility, allows him to get by defenders, or to open up passing lanes. He is strong on the puck, and shows excellent lower body strength and balance. This allows him to work well along the boards, and in the cycle game. Rubstov can even improve in this as he continues to add lower body strength.  He could also stand to work on his first step quickness and his startup.  He’s really improved other areas of his skating, but the first step is still cause for some concern.

German Rubtsov shows a real commitment to playing defensive hockey.  He is often used as the Russian’s top shot down centre, playing against other team’s top lines. His hockey sense and positioning are excellent, as he reads the play well and anticipates where plays are headed. Rubtsov shows his dogged puck pursuit in all three zones. In addition to playing against top lines, he also works extremely well on the penalty kill. Add to this, a strong ability in the faceoff circle, and Rubtsov will be a coach’s dream.

German Rubtsov’s game should translate well to the NHL level, and he could soon find himself in the top six for the team that drafts him. There are some questions, such as his involvement in the meldonium scandal in Russia, and the ever present Russian Factor, where teams must determine how soon he will be willing to leave the MHL and KHL behind, and head to North America. Still the potential here is high, and it is expected that he will be a first round pick. In terms of style (not talent level) Rubtsov compares well with Frans Nielsen of the New York Islanders.

The following is a compiliation of German Rubtsov’s highlights, taken from youtube.

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