Every draft day decision is, in a way, a calculated and cold process. You often have to look at very minor and potentially insignificant detail about a player to decide if a player is worth selecting with your all-important first round pick.
But while most players are looked at under a microscope, others have problems that can be seen with the naked eye -- issues that could cause an otherwise elite talent to fall lower then expected. German Rubtsov not only has to deal with the so-called "Russian factor" that's pervasive in hockey scouting, but he also has to overcome the fact that he and his team are caught in one of the biggest drug scandals in hockey history.
- Born: October 30th, 1998
- Nationality: Russian
- Height: 6'1"
- Weight: 174 lbs
- Team: Russia U18
- Position: Center
High upside and little on-ice flaws
Rubtsov is arguably one of the top overall talents in the draft this year. Playing for Russia’s U18 team this past year, he showcased a special blend of two-way play. Potting 12 goals and assisting on 14 others, Rubtsov was arguably Russia’s best and most promising U18 player.
A versatile forward, Rubtsov already plays a more "North American" game than most European players. Playing center in Russia, he already has experience at the most important NHL forward position, a huge plus for most young kids coming over from Europe. His quick, steady strides in transition help him cover more ice then the majority of his competition.
One knock you might read about Rubtsov’s game is that he’ll look to pass too often. Personally, I don’t mind aggressiveness from a playmaker, and I also think it’s more natural for younger players to be more sharing with the puck, especially on national teams.
But the big concerns will be his willingness to come over the Atlantic soon, and of course the drug scandal surrounding his team. The fact that his team was wrapped up in it is concerning enough, but there's also the fact that many scouts didn't get a good look at Rubtsov because he didn't play in the U18 World Championship last month.
Will he be the fit for the Flyers?
If I had to make a list, I’d say Rubtsov is arguably a top 10 talent in the draft. If he’s available at No. 18, he could potentially be the best player available. That said, Hextall will have to put a pro-con list together with him. If he thinks the rewards are greater then the risks, then the decision could be easy for the GM in June.