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The recent IIHF World Championships have shown just how far Switzerland has come as a hockey nation. They defeated Finland and Canada and took Sweden to a shootout before losing the gold medal game. Switzerland has taken major steps towards turning the big six hockey nations into a big seven. Part of continuing that growth though is growing the next generation of Swiss stars. Quebec Remparts forward Philipp Kurashev is on the leading edge of that new generation.
Drafted 21st overall in the 2016 CHL Import Draft, Kurashev has had two successful seasons with the Remparts. He put up 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 59 games this year. This comes on the heels of 54 point in 65 games as a rookie. Kurashev also added five points in six playoff games, but the Remparts fell in the first round. Kurashev was also part of the Swiss team at the World Junior Championships, putting up three points in five games. He also played for the Swiss at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, with four points in that five-game tournament.
There is talk that Kurashev could leave the Remparts this off-season, to return to Switzerland and play pro hockey against men in the next stage of his development.
His father, Konstantin Kurashev, was a Soviet-era pro player and has been a long-time coach in Switzerland.
Philipp Kurashev Scouting Report
Center — shoots Left
Born October 12th, 1999 — Munsingen, Switzerland
Height 6’0″ — Weight 191 lbs [183 cm / 87 kg]
Kurashev is a dynamic skater. He is lightning quick, with a great first step, top-notch acceleration, and incredible top speed. He can blow by the defence, creating breakaways and odd-man rushes in transition. Kurashev can also take a defender wide and cut to the net. He is agile, with the ability to make quick cuts and weave in and out of traffic. Kurashev has a powerful stride and good balance. He is tough to knock off the puck and can make plays off the cycle as well.
Kurashev marries his skating skill with good, but not great stickhandling. He can make a number of nice moves to get past a defenceman. However, there are times where he can move a bit too fast for his hands and lose the puck. His quicknees also allows Kurashev to get in quickly on the forecheck. He is strong along the boards and wins battles to get the puck back. Kurashev’s speed forces defenders to back off, and he takes advantage of this with a good release on his wrist shot. He generates a lot of shots, and he takes any opportunity to put the puck on net. Kurashev could use a bit more power on the shot.
Kurashev has good vision and can play the role of playmaker. He uses his quickness and ability to make quick cuts to open up passing lanes and find teammates. He can control the puck on the half boards on the powerplay and look to set up a scoring chance. Kurashev has the poise and patience to extend plays an wait for a teammate to get open. He needs to work on his consistency. There are times when Kurashev is the clear best player on the ice, but there are also games he can become invisible. This is the biggest knock on his game.
Kurashev’s defensive game is hit and miss. His quickness allows him to intercept passes and create turnovers. Once one is created, he is quick to transition. Kurashev is strong on the boards and wins battles down low. He is also good in the face-off circle. However, his positioning and instincts can use some work. He can sometimes be caught focused on the puck and lose his man, or he can get himself out of position looking to steal the puck, and leave his man.
Projection and Comparison
Kurashev is a boom or bust prospect. He has the skills to be a dynamic forward, but just does not seem to utilize them often enough. If a team figures out the inconsistency issues, they could have a real steal. If not, they will always be asking why Kurashev does not produce more. His game is reminiscent of Evgeny Kuznetsov but this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages of Kurashev that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
BOISBRIAND, QC – OCTOBER 22: Philipp Kurashev #96 of the Quebec Remparts skates against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada during the QMJHL game at Centre d’Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 22, 2017, in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Quebec Remparts defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5-4 in overtime. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images Sport)