2020-21 Team: SKA-1946 St. Petersburg
Date of Birth: Feb. 16, 2003
Place of Birth: Moskva, Russia
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 161 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 4th (amongst EU skaters)
- FC Hockey: 20th
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 27th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 24th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 25th
One of the better Russian players eligible for this year’s draft class, Nikita Chibrikov has a lot of promise to his game. What impresses me the most about him is his poise with the puck on his stick and his skating ability. He is able to effectively get to top speed using crossovers and is not afraid to attack open lanes driving through the neutral zone. He has good hands in tight and can find teammates in the slot even with a defender draped over him.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
His shot is also something to behold. He is able to get it off in a hurry and is good at using deceptive moves to place it where he wants it. He does not shy down from physical play, either. He battles hard for the puck in the corners and has good lower-body strength, making it hard to knock him off the puck.
The one knock against Chibrikov is his defensive play. At times, he is great at coming to backcheck and help disrupt passing lanes with his active stick, but other times he is practically invisible in the defensive zone or he barely tries. He processes the game at a high level and has shown that he reads the play really well. If he put more emphasis on coming to help out on defense on a consistent basis, I feel he would have a lot more people ranking him higher on their lists or rankings.
Other THW Profiles
Nikita Chibrikov – 2021 NHL Draft Projection
Chibrikov was ranked an A-level prospect by NHL Central Scouting and I think it is right where he belongs. I don’t think he goes in the top 15, but anywhere after that in the first round makes sense. He will be a player that takes a few seasons to develop in Russia before coming over to play in North America, but he could be worth the wait for the team that calls his name on draft night.
“Chibrikov is a smooth-skating, offense-first winger with the ability to control games with the puck on his stick. Chibrikov can obliterate defenses with, not just his skating speed, but his lightning quick turns and pure agility. Despite his smaller frame, he engages physically with opposing skaters and holds his own. Chibrikov is an aggressive forechecker, but leaves some to be desired in the defensive zone, most notably with his positioning.” – Dylan Griffing, DobberProspects
“Chibrikov is an elite skater. His quickness, edge work, and lightning speed are everything a team can ask for in a scoring forward. In addition to that, he’s able to identify and carve out lanes for himself at will. His skating stride is nearly flawless, and his wide base combined with his strong edges make him a nightmare to take the puck off of.” – Alex Taxman, Future Scope Hockey
- Physical play in the corners
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive play
Chibrikov has all the makings of a solid middle-six offensive contributor if everything works out. He needs to round out his defensive game, but his offensive skills are definitely there. The team that drafts him will have to be patient as he will need a few years to develop his overall game.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 6/10
In 2019-20, as a member of team Russia, he and his teammates won the Gold Medal at the U17 World Hockey Championships.
My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.