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NHL Prospects

TSS Top 100 Prospects in Hockey: 70-66

13 December 2014: Kerby Rychel #52 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The top 100 prospects in hockey countdown continues, as this week we look at players ranked 66 – 70.

70. Nikolay Goldobin, San Jose Sharks

Position: Left Wing
Age: 19
Height/ Weight: 5’11” / 180
Drafted: 27th overall in the first round of the 2014 draft by San Jose

A prolific scorer in junior in the OHL, Goldobin played last year in Europe in his first year as a pro. He has committed to North America this year and has split time between the AHL, and NHL. He has struggled to find his stride in the NHL, scoring only one goal and two points in nine games with the Sharks.

He had a slow start to his AHL career as well, where he was pointless in the early going. He has been making the adjustment slowly, however, and now has 11 goals and 21 points in 35 games for the Barracuda. With his previous experience in Sarnia he has already adjusted to both the North American culture and hockey. He has a year of pro under his belt already as well suggesting his development should see him quickly in the NHL full time, perhaps by season’s end.

Scouting Report:
opponents must respect his lateral cutting ability – tough to get a read on – sneaky, doesn’t show his intentions .. assertive and confident puckmover – wants the puck – curls with puck in neutral zone and appears to be cutting right but goes left – and freezes the checker to the spot .. scores many of his goals on the move .. soft hands and shot in close, quick release .. defensive awareness and effort in tight-checking games are concerns .. best suited in a top-six role, but may be a fringe top liner depending on his development. – McKeens Hockey

69. Kerby Rychel, Columbus Blue Jackets

Position: Left Wing
Age: 20
Height/Weight: 6’1” / 214
Drafted 19th in the first round of the 2013 draft by Columbus

In his second full season as a pro, Rychel has seen his ups and downs. He has split time between the AHL, and NHL. He is a point a game player at the AHL level and feels he is NHL ready now. He has expressed his disappointment with being assigned to the Lake Erie Monsters this season, and rumors of a trade request have been widely reported. His latest recall to the NHL was as an emergency relief after injuries struck the Blue Jackets. With nine points in 23 games this year in the NHL, his stats could have him on the fence of being either sent back down to the AHL, or possibly included in a trade as the struggling Blue Jackets search for answers.

Scouting Report:
Rychel has solid, upper-end quality hands and has come a long way since first being drafted. His skating, once a liability, has improved; allowing him to let his tactical and technical ability show. Consistency was an issue early in his career. While he still has defensive lapses at times his two-way play is much-improved. Like his father, former NHLer Warren Rychel, he has a bit of pugnaciousness and plays with an edge – Hockeys Future

68. Slater Koekkoek, Tampa Bay Lightning

Position: Defence
Age: 21
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 184
Drafted: tenth overall in the first round of the 2012 draft by Tampa Bay

After a strong rookie season last year, the Lightning continue to take their time allowing Koekkoek to develop at the AHL. He has been rewarded with a few brief cups of coffee in the NHL, but for now, he is logging top minutes with Syracuse, rather than playing bottom six minutes and rotating in and out of the press box in the NHL. When he arrives he will be a top four, all-around defenseman.

Scouting Report:
We’re pretty happy with [his development] as an organization. He really needed to improve on his down-low defending game and he’s made a lot of strides in that area. He’s got a great plus/minus; he’s a guy that we count on the penalty kill and in late-game situations. His speed allows him to do a lot of things defensively, not just offensively. – Syracuse Head Coach Rob Zettler, NHL.com

67. Evgeni Svechnikov, Detroit Red Wings

Position: Left Wing
Age: 18
Height/Weight: 6’2” / 199
Drafted: Nineteenth overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Detroit

The Russian sniper was returned to the QMJHL by Detroit as expected. Svechnikov, while scoring well for Cape Breton with 54 points in 35 games, was very disappointing for Russia at the World Junior Championship where he was held pointless in seven games. His performance at the WJC has cost him to drop slightly in the rankings, but his regular season performance keeps him as a top prospect, who projects to be a quality NHL player when he arrives. Knowing how the Red Wings tend to overcook their prospects, he may be a few years away yet.

Scouting Report:
Incredibly skilled offensive winger. Has a remarkably accurate shot to go along with some magic hands. Could be better defensively, but his game is based around his acute sense of what is happening on the ice in the offensive zone. All-in-all, a deadly player who possesses good size, elite-level skill, and smooth skating – Elite Prospects

66. Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues

Position: Center
Age: 19
Height/Weight: 6’0” / 180
Drafted: 33rd overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by St. Louis

After a monster year in the QMJHL post-draft, including a stellar performance for Russia at the WJC, Barbashev turned pro this season and is developing in the AHL with the Chicago Wolves. His rookie season is going well, as he has eight goals and 14 points in 40 games. He is a gritty, two-way scoring forward who has excellent offensive skills and even dropped the gloves recently with Garret Ross. He still needs some time in the AHL refining his game and developing his offence at the pro level but he is on pace to be an impact player for the Blues.

Scouting Report:
Ivan Barbashev is a pure sniper, he has a great arsenal of shots with a terrific wrister, slapshot, snapshot, backhand and one-timer. These shots also feature an excellent release which can fool goalkeepers and the puck will be in the back of the net before he knows it. Barbashev also has good stickhandling skills, and the creativity and vision to make passes which surprise opponents and set up teammates for easy goals. When he doesn’t have the puck, he does a good job in finding open areas, and easy passing lanes for a teammate to get him the puck. He reads the play well and has a high hockey IQ. – Last Word on Sports

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