It's not every day you find a young undrafted prospect who fits a team's model so well. Today, we're talking about German Rubtsov, a tenacious two-way centerman out of Chekhov, Russia, just one hour outside of Moscow.
Rubtsov appears to have all of the tools to be an NHL player. We're going to break down his style of play, and talk about the impact he has made for his team in the MHL.
Name: German Rubtsov
Born: June 27th, 1998 -- Chekhov, Russia
Weight: 174 lbs.
German Rubtsov appears to be a real hidden gem in this year's deep class of centers. He plays right on the same level with the "Red Wings model" in that he is often praised for his two-way abilities. Rubtsov found a lot of success in the MHL as a shutdown guy playing against heavy competition. In that role, where he played in all situations, he finished second on his team in scoring. To add to his gifted offensive and defensive ability, Rubtsov shows a lot of talent with face offs, being a guy that you want in the dot whether you're starting a shift in the defensive or offensive zone.
What made me really fall in love with the way Rubtsov plays is his ability to use his reach and skating abilities on the forecheck. In the video below, there is a great example (around the 1:00 mark) of what he can do. Using his vision, and reach, Rubtsov was able to successfully pressure four different players from Team USA. Rubtsov ended up with the puck on his stick right in front of the net, and he buried it to give Russia the go-ahead goal. There are also a few examples, in the video, of his ability to takeaway the puck in developing plays, despite having very little space to work with. The kid's got super-soft hands with and without the puck.
Of course there is always fear of "The Russian Factor," a narrative that has lived a long and fruitful life thanks to the mainstream media. We don't know what Rubtsov's plans are in his path to the NHL, but it's very unlikely to find a young Russian star that isn't chomping at the bit to play hockey in North America.
NHL CSS: 5 (EU Skaters)
Future Considerations: 19
I think factoring in the Russian narrative will certainly make German Rubtsov available at 16th overall. The Red Wings live and die by their two-way centers. He fits the model perfectly, and I would be ecstatic if they drafted this kid.
As I've said before, he fits the mold. Detroit has long been a team that is not afraid to take a chance on Russian players despite the tired anecdote that all Russian players cannot be trusted. The Red Wings drafted Evgeny Svechnikov in the first round last year, so it's clear that they're still willing to toss that archaic mindset for players who have immense skill.
Players who play the game like German Rubtsov does have shown a lot of promise and success at the NHL level. Two-way centers who can play in all situations, and provide potent offensive abilities are worth their weight in gold. I am certain the Red Wings have been scouting Rubtsov, and I am certain that he will be in their scope when the 2016 NHL Draft commences.
YouTube user bigwhite06