With the 22nd pick in the 2016 NHL Draft the Philadelphia Flyers selected German Rubtsov from the Russian Under-18 program.
About German Rubtsov
He’s a big centre with the ability to play at both ends of the ice – your prototypical two-way forward. He’s an intelligent player with the ability to create plays off the rush. As a playmaker, he uses his speed and his puck handling skills to open up the ice for his linemates and really anticipates the play.
As the Russians have done over the years, Rubtsov uses his size and strength to play a physical game. At six-foot-one, he doesn’t mind going into the corners to pick up the loose pucks and can take a hit without losing control of the puck.
While there is controversy surrounding Rubtsov thanks to the Meldonium scandal with the Russian U18 program, the Flyers are obviously willing to take a chance on the big Russian centre.
Rubtsov is still under contract in the KHL for another two years, which could cause a few more issues for the Flyers’ draft pick, but count on Philadelphia to get everything worked out.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 25, 2016
Flyers: Rubtsov Part of the Future
The last time the Flyers drafted 22nd overall, it was in 2006 when they took Claude Giroux. Before that, they took Maxime Ouellet in 1999, Simon Gagne in 1998 and Brian Boucher in 1995. All of them were 22nd overall picks.
Now, you can add Rubtsov to that list. On a team that had added some upper-class talent over the past few years to go along with Wayne Simmonds and Giroux, Rubtsov will fit in nicely with the Flyers.
Add his name to the growing list that includes Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. On top of that, Shayne Gostisbehere dazzled at the NHL level last season adding to a Flyers team that is getting younger and more impressive.
With that in mind, while Rubtsov won’t be in the NHL next season, look for him to be a major difference maker along with the Flyers pool of prospects in a few years.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.