2020-21 Team: Minskie Zubry (#37)
Date of Birth: Jan 9, 2003
Place of Birth: Pinsk, Belarus
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 187 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 19th (amongst EU skaters)
- Elite Prospects: 49th
- Zator’s Top 100 April Rankings: Unranked
- Baracchini’s Top 100 March Rankings: Unranked
- Forbes’ Top 128 for May: Unranked
Before the 2021 U18 World Championship, Danila Klimovich was not on many draft lists. In fact, scouts and draft pundits were scrambling to find out more about the 18-year-old Belarussian after his first two games saw him score four goals, which included a hat trick in just over 29 minutes of play. He ended up finishing the tournament with six goals in five games and more importantly, his name etched on every scout’s notepads.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Unranked by everyone but NHL Central Scouting and Elite Prospects, Klimovich wowed everyone with his speed, shot, and overall skill on his way to being named one of Team Belarus’ best players of the tournament and now, one to watch in the first few rounds of the upcoming draft. No longer an unknown prospect, he could even find his way into the first round, especially if Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen caught wind of his play. As we all know, he’s no stranger to off-the-board picks after selecting Yegor Chinakhov in 2020. Although, with his team set to potentially choose in the top-five, that probably won’t happen this time.
Klimovich is a highly creative goal scoring forward with an NHL caliber shot and a compete level that is off the charts. He also knows how to finish his chances, which is something that can elude a lot of players striving to be consistent offensive producers. All in all, he has all the skills of a top line forward, which makes it hard to believe that we are just discovering him a couple of months away from the draft. I guess if he was playing in a more prominent league like the KHL or MHL, we probably would have known about him sooner.
All in all, Klimovich’s name is one to keep an eye on, as he could become a steal in the first few rounds. North America could be seeing more of him in the coming seasons too, as he was drafted in the 2020 CHL Import Draft by the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda. If he does ultimately come over from Belarus, I’m sure he will quickly become a household name, that is, if he isn’t already.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Danila Klimovich – NHL Draft Projection
After the skill and potential he displayed at the U18s, I would expect a lot of NHL teams now have him on their radar as a potential second or third round pick. Although, given the small sample size and quality of competition he showcased his game in, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drop into the fourth or fifth round and subsequently be a potential steal for whatever team drafts him.
“The size, the skills, the hockey sense are all there for him to be an offensive producing player and he’s consistent in his approach. He’s got NHL speed and competes hard. Now, he does have a flair for the dramatic at times, but that’s good. It means he’s confident, but, every shift, he’s first on pucks, always going to the net and he’s got that knack to be open and available to get that shot off. He’s on the top line and is the top scorer and he’s one of the first forwards coming back on the play.” – Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting
“While his skill is clearly raw, he’s got a quick release and, in a similar vein as Alex Ovechkin, he has a knack for finding open ice – something Klimovich considers a strong point in his game. Klimovich has agile hands that allows him to control the puck effectively and while his skating isn’t anything special, he can move the puck at a nice speed.” – Steven Ellis, The Hockey News
- Compete level
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to develop physically and mentally
Klimovich has all the attributes of a top-six forward, maybe even a top-line center. As Marr said, he has all the tools and not many weaknesses to his game. If he develops physically and is able to handle the increase in competition at the highest level, he will definitely hit that potential. However, expectations should be tempered, as the sample size was relatively small at six games. Now, if he can impress at the World Championships in Latvia, then all bets are off.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 6/10
Klimovich was named one of the top-three players of Team Belarus at the 2021 U18 World Championship in Texas after scoring six goals in five games.
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.