German Rubstov has the scouts drooling. That much is certain, just look over the following glowing reports:
He is a very strong skater with excellent acceleration and balance. But mix in his mobility with strength and tenacity, and you get a coach’s dream. Rubtsov is a "big play" center who preys on the weak, and his superior playmaking ability and vision enables him to be used in key situations regardless of which end of the scoreboard his team is on. He’s an extremely competitive leader who will involve himself physically if the game is in need of a momentum shift. "
He is ranked 15th by Hockeyprospect.com and ISS hockey, 19th by Future Considerations, 24th by McKeens Hockey, and 5th by NHL Central Scouting for European players. Bleacher Report.com listed him as one of the prospects moving up scouting rankings the fastest this year and Dobber Prospects had this to say:
April 2016 – German Rubtsov is an exceptionally talented two-way center that can be the driving offensive force on a line. With elite playmaking ability and shot with above average speed and velocity, Rubtsov can kill a team in multiple ways. Capable of shutting down other team’s top lines as well as driving the play in the opposite direction, his agile skating and deft hands allow Rubtsov to change the momentum on the ice in a hurry. Strong down low for his size, Rubtsov is more of a pass first player at this point since his vision and creativity enable him to create time and space for his line mates. Physically willing to engage and highly compettive, he is able to shield the puck from defenders while spotting teammates with pinpoint passes on the rush, seemingly with eyes in the back of his head.
NHL Draftsite issued another glowing review:
Complete two-way performer with excellent size, skill and skating ability. His performance in the World Junior Challenge may have cemented his first round status. In that mid December tourney he seemed to single-handedly take apart the U.S. entry in all outcomes and all phases with his domination. Plays like it is his last game ever. Has really good size and East-West mobility which he uses in puck pursuit to get it back and get things going again. This big strong horse can force defenders backward and his ability to play strong on the puck has him holding it while teammates are able to find the soft spots. Opposing players tried to knock him off the puck but he keeps control and eventually goes to the net. If the seam closes, he with keep moving in possession until a teammate’s chance opens up. Walks out of the corners in control and hungry. Yet is difficult to project where Russian who are not playing in North America are slotted by the NHL staffs. Forward Denis Gurianov and goaler Ilya Samsonov went early in the first, but no other Russian went to mid-third round. It might be safe to say Rubtsov goes somewhere later than Samsonov and before the third round
And there, in that last part, is the rub. The only way the Panthers even get a shot at drafting this uber-talented center is if the "Russian factor" keeps other teams away. Russian draft picks have not been kind to Dale Tallon, as none have ended up playing in North America, and the team has watched them generally waste away in their homeland. Remember the names Alexander Delnov or Yaroslav Kosov? Neither will likely ever play in North America, let alone the NHL. Nonetheless, first round Russian picks have been a bit less finicky about coming to North America lately. Still, there have, at times, been veiled threats by some Russian players (when unhappy), to simply return home. There is undoubtedly risk involved, if available, do the Cats take a chance at 23, especially now that they added the 33 overall pick in the Erik Gudbranson trade, or do they play it safe?
Does he fit in Florida?
Rubtsov has all of the potential to be a premier two-way scoring center in the NHL but will likely need a couple of more years at least before he comes over from Russia.
This type of description fits almost any team's needs. A few questions though, can Rubstov switch to the wing, as the Panthers appear stacked down the middle for years to come? Will he continue on a developmental rocket, or will a lack of North American play begin to limit him? Will the "Russian factor" come into play? Last word on sports profile noted many of these questions:
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.
Why does it always seem to come back to the Islanders? Anyway, the Cats need help sooner rather than later at the wing. Is Rubstov closer or farther away than other prospects? These types of questions may lead to a safer pick, but Rubstov is certainly near the top of the heap.