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Flyers take Russian two-way center German Rubtsov

As the Hockey Wilderness Mock Draft continues, Philadelphia takes well-rounded Russian center to add to their diverse prospect pool.

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The 2016 NHL Draft is 16 days away, and the Wild are looking for that next superstar to elevate their franchise. Hockey Wilderness is counting down to the big event with a daily Mock Draft. We are at Pick 18 today, and the Philadelphia Flyers are on the clock.

The Flyers did not have any new prospects make an impact on their NHL squad this year, but that just means that their already established prospect corp has another year of development behind them.  A lot of teams have one obvious need that will greatly improve their prospect pool, but the Flyers are really well balanced with middling talent.

One of their most talented prospects is Ivan Provorov, drafted 7th overall in the 2015 draft. Last year, the Flyers also took my favorite player in the 2015 draft, the speedy and tiny Travis Konecny, who has skills that will greatly improve the Flyers in the future when he is ready to make an NHL roster.  The Flyers also picked goaltender Felix Sandstrom with an early 2015 pick, taking him in the third round. Basically, the Flyers have players worth mentioning at every position, and having a diverse bunch of skilled prospects will increase the likelihood that players will succeed at every position.

Because their prospect pool is so diverse, they basically just need to discover which of the prospects they’ve already acquired will pan out.  That leaves them well suited to take whichever available player is the best. One such player could be Russian two-way center, German Rubtsov.

What are scouts saying about German Rubtsov?

Rubtsov is considered a skillful, two-way center, who is as good on the power play as he is on the penalty kill.

ISS scout O. Lahdesmaki loves his game on the offensive side of the puck.
"Gifted center with skills and vision. Skilled, offensive-minded winger. Possesses good vision and ability to create plays. Moves well and has offensive upside."

Future Considerations loves that Rubtsov excels in so many areas.
"He can be a dominant puck-possession guy, a strong puck-distributor, a finisher, a defensive specialist and even a pest at times. He has strong skating ability, as he is fast and agile; he uses his skating on both sides of the puck."

On Last Word on Sports, Ben Kerr also talks about Rubtsov’s great ability to play as part of a team.
"He is very patient and slows the game down, waiting for teammates to get open and then making tape-to-tape passes to the now open teammates. He also has the ability to find soft areas in the defence and get open to make a play, or take a one-timer.[...] 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."

German Rubtsov is at his best when he is dishing the puck to teammates, making the other players around him on the ice better.

German Rubtsov played for the Russian U-18 team last year, and unfortunately for scouts, his whole team was banned from the U-18 tournament for taking meldonium, limiting the number of viewings for NHL scouts. This scandal, along with the Russian factor, could scare away teams who could use a fantastic center, meaning the team that picks him will probably get a lot of use out of their pick.

Would the Wild take him?

There will probably be better players available when the Wild pick, so I would be a little disappointed if the Wild took a player who is a consistent two-way player, even if he does have a lot of offensive skill, rather than a player with "off the charts" offensive talent. He is the type of player who the Wild might look at though because of his size combined with his particular well-rounded skill set.