The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile – Evgeny Kuznetsov

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2010 Draft Preview article.

Evgeny Kuznetsov (Click on name for up- to- date stats)

Evgeny Kuznetsov {Photo: Wikimedia Commons - Canadian Hky}

Date of Birth: May 19th, 1992

Birthplace: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Height: 6.00

Weight: 174lbs.

Shoots: L

Position: C/RW
2009-10 Team: Traktor Chelyabinsk (KHL)

NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010

One-Timer:

Perhaps the biggest question when considering prospects such as Kuznetsov is a phrase I have coined “Russian Roulette”, rather than simple the Russian factor which many other scouts/writers use. This places an even great emphasis on the potential risk involved with Russian prospects, even more so in recent years. (See “Russian Roulette” section below for further discussion).

A talented forward with an elite skillset and penchant for highlight reel goals, Kuznetsov has three main question marks – consistency, maturity and the above mentioned Russian Roulette Factor. He is an explosive skater with great hands who might just be the most talented Russian in this year’s draft.

Scout’s Honor:

“He is a classical Russian hockey player — fast, skillful, talented. He is also a leader on the ice, he was captain of the Russian Under-18 team and he had an excellent tournament. He is very skilled.”

- NHL Director of European Scouting, Goran Stubb

“Very dynamic skill level. Extremely quick, soft hands. Controls the puck like he’s got it on a string and holds onto it for an extra split second, giving linemates time to cut to open ice for his decisive feeds. Superb patience around the net – outwaits goalies and always forces them to make the first move. Tremendous natural sniper who buries his chances.”

- Red Line Report Draft Guide 2010

“A very smooth puck handler who can beat defenders one on one, Kuznetsov requires very little time or space to score goals and can do so off the rush or with his very good shot from almost anywhere in the offensive zone.”

- International Scouting Services NHL Draft Guide 2010

“He really has that high-end Russian skill. I don’t want to say (Ilya) Kovalchuk or (Alex) Ovechkin because that’s not right, but he is that style of player.”

- A scout in The Hockey News Draft Preview 2010

Russian Roulette:

Some call it the infamous Russian Factor. Because of developments in recent years such as lack of transfer agreement and the KHL enticing players, I go as far as calling it the “Russian Roulette” Factor.

As reported by RussianProspects.com:

For long time tied with a CHL move, one of the top Russians available for the upcoming 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Evgeny Kuznetsov, signed a new 2 years contract with Traktor Chelyabinsk. “I’m very happy now, all the contracts’ conditions satisfy me” – said Kuznetsov through Tratkor’s official site. “Leaving Chelyabinsk makes no sense to me. I’m under contract with Traktor for further two seasons and I’ll leave the team only if the management would release me. I don’t want to have bad relationships with my home club. I will go to America later this month, to have the Draft Combine. Then I will further practice. I’ll take part to the Draft in Los Angeles. Then I want to skate in the training camp of the team that will pick me up. I really want to see the practices and the preparation for the new season. Then I will get back to Traktor.”

Current Season:

2009-10:  Played 35 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia’s KHL, registering 2 goals and 6 assists. He also saw some time in the MHL, where he was assigned, but quickly outclassed the competition with 4 goals and 16 points in only 9 games played.

Scouting Combine Performance:

  • 6th in Anaerobic Fitness: Fatigue Index

International Tournaments:

  • He had 2 goals in 6 games for Russia at the World Junior Championship this year.
  • Also in 2010, as captain of the WJC-U18 Russian squad, he recorded a team high 12 points (5G – 7A) and a +8 rating in seven games this spring to be named one of Russia’s top three players for the tournament.
  • Evgeny finished second in scoring for Russia at the 2009 Under-18 World Championship, registering 13 points (6 G, 7 A) in 7 games.

ETA = 3-4 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 3.5/5   Reward = 4.5/5

NHL Potential: Top line scoring forward

Strengths:

  • Can stickhandle in a phone booth
  • Fantastic skater
  • Great wrist shot
  • High-end hockey vision
  • Super hockey sense

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Continue to train to increase strength and mass.
  • Consistency!
  • Become more disciplined.
  • Concentrate on proper positional play.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 9/10   Defensive = 7/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison: Alexander Semin, Alexei Kovalev, Ilya Kovalchuk

Video(s):

Other Rankings:

CSB: 3-E

ISS: 19

TSN: N/A {Bob MacKenzie}

McKeens: 11

THN: 18

THW:  22 (June  ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

*For all the latest prospect and draft news follow me on Twitter: The Hockey Spy

This document is the intellectual property of Christopher Ralph and cannot be used or duplicated in any way without expressed written consent. Any use of this document without the expressed written consent of Christopher Ralph will result in public exposure and legal prosecution.

Christopher Ralph

Christopher Ralph

Managing Editor/Lead Prospect/Draft Analyst at THW
Chris is THW's senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for Chris' regular column "The Next Ones" Prospect Profile series as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphTHW on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com
Christopher Ralph
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