2019-20 Team: Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
Date of Birth: Oct. 2, 2001
Place of Birth: Salavat, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-0 Wt: 168 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 5th (amongst EU skaters)
- Future Considerations: 19th
- HockeyProspect.com: 25th
- The Hockey Writers (Bell): 15th
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 12th
- The Hockey Writers (Fisher): 12th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 13th
- ISS: 16th
- DobberProspects: 8th (amongst EU skaters)
Rodion Amirov got on many scout’s lists before he was even 18-years-old when he played in the 2019 U18 World Juniors. He dominated the tournament scoring six goals and nine points in seven games, leading Team Russia to a silver medal. That got him noticed by his hometown KHL team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa. But like most Russian prospects, Amirov didn’t see much ice time there this season, only playing 21 games and scoring two points in a limited role. Though in the time he did play, he didn’t look out of place.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Despite not producing in the KHL, Amirov has dominated in the MHL, Russia’s top development league, scoring 10 goals and 22 points in 17 games. He is one of the top-ranked Russians in this draft for a reason, as he boasts a rare combination of skill and two-way acumen that a lot of 18-year-old forwards don’t possess.
The MHL may not be the best place for Amirov, as he looked like a man amongst boys in that league. He probably would be better off playing against men with his skillset. Because of this, he will definitely play a full season there in 2020-21. He did get over to North America this season when he played in the CHL’s Canada-Russia series for Team Russia. He ended up scoring three points in five games. He also played in the Spengler Cup for Salavat Yulaev Ufa, scoring one goal in three games.
Though his biggest accomplishment was getting named to Team Russia’s roster for the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament in the summer of 2019. Since he never got chosen to represent his country for the 2020 World Juniors, it became an even bigger deal for his development. He didn’t stand out with only two points in five games, but it was a great experience to just be there amongst the best young players in the game.
Amirov’s game doesn’t have many flaws, as he’s a great skater which in turn makes him a great forechecker. Even though he’s not the biggest of forwards, he plays with an aggressive mindset and is unafraid of physicality along the boards. But the biggest asset of his game is his hockey IQ and ability to influence the game from all three zones and both special teams. The work ethic and attitude he possesses is also second-to-none. Basically he’s a complete player who is only going to get better. Expect him to attract a lot of attention from teams selecting in the top half of the first round.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Rodion Amirov – NHL Draft Projection
Amirov is all over the board in the rankings, from as high as 12th to as low as 25th. Though, some teams could find his package very enticing, so he could go as high as 10th. He is a very intriguing forward with his overall consistent game and package of skill and defensive acumen. Attitude and character also matter to a lot of teams, so don’t be surprised to see him chosen in the middle or even close to the top of the first round because of it.
“An impressive two-way winger. Competes for every puck and tends to win thanks to his balance and strong core. Makes the subtle plays that add up. Still searching for that separation speed.” – Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects
“Two of the more noticeable aspects of Amirov’s game are his puck control and board play in all three zones. He is extremely elusive in tight spaces and will use multiple pivots or cut-backs with confidence to keep possession alive, specifically during the cycle. He enters the offensive zone with his head up and consistently identifies and connects with the best option once time and space is achieved. If trapped inside his own end, Amirov will make subtle stick plays to win possession before trapping overcommitted point men with a nifty bank or lob pass. Amirov is quite the thief, and you can count on him to loot unassuming opponents several times a game.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Everything is in place for him to become a middle-of-the-line-up producer. A player who thinks the game well with defensive awareness as part of the package.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
- Hockey IQ
- Work Ethic
- Two-way game
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Amirov has all the tools to succeed in the NHL from his elite two-way game to his hockey IQ and ability to come through in clutch situations, he is a player you win Stanley Cups with. Throw in his overall work ethic and mature attitude, and you have a complete player. He may not light it up as a top-line winger, but he will provide great production as a top-nine forward playing on both the power play and penalty kill.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defence – 8/10
Amirov played for Team Russia in the 2019 U18 World Junior Tournament, winning a silver medal. He was named as one of the top three forwards of the tournament and was placed on the All-Star Team as well. In the summer of that same year, he played in the Hlinka-Gretzky Tournament, winning a bronze medal.
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.