Rushan Rafikov – The Next Ones – 2013 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Rushan Rafikov THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: 05/15/1995

Place of birth: Saratov, Russia

Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 185 lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: Defense

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013

THW Ranking: not ranked (April edition)

Other Rankings:

Consensus aggregate rankings (NHL numbers): 261

CSS Final Rankings (European skaters): 21


Rafikov's top end upside is similar to that of Nikita Nikitin (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)
Rafikov’s top end upside is similar to that of Nikita Nikitin (Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]

Rushan Rafikov’s draft stock has only gone up over the last few months. The Russian defenseman was ranked in the 40-50 range among European skaters in the CSS mid-term rankings. When the final rankings were released at the end of April he had jumped up to 21.

He has been playing senior hockey in Russia’s MHL for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv and it isn’t hard from watching him to discern why he has been able to move up the rankings. He finished with a +11 plus/minus rating and 10 points in 53 MHL games, while also producing good showings at junior international level.

Rafikov has an intriguing skill set. He has good size and is already pretty strong with a frame he can grow into. Importantly, he hasn’t shown any willingness to get involved physically and plays with an edge. He is primarily a stay-at-home defenseman, but is also a pretty good skater. He usually delivers a pretty good first pass out of the zone and looks pretty confident on the puck suggesting some offensive upside.

Where he will end up in June: At one stage Rafikov’s draft status looked highly uncertain, but he now looks like a sure fire later round draft pick. Probably the sort of player likely to get selected in the sixth round.

Scout’s Honor:

‘Aggressive Russian defender who is tall and slender and more of a stay-home defenseman. Shows good lateral mobility and gets the puck up ice with good passes. Although he is still developing physically, he plays extremely tough and edgy. Never going to be an offensive upside handler, but already seems to play well within the limits of his capabilities.’

Bill Placzek – Draft Site


International Tournaments:

– He tallied two assists in the U-17 World Cup of Hockey while playing for Russia in 2011-12.

– He played four games in this winter’s WJAC-19 event tallying two assists and seeing significant ice.

– He is again representing Russia in the U-18 World Championships. At the time of writing he is a +7 with four assists in five games.

ETA: 3-4 years

Risk/Reward Analysis: Risk 4/5 Reward 3.5/5

NHL Potential: Shutdown top four defenseman




First pass

Defensive instincts

Defensive positioning

Flaws/aspects he needs to work on:

Adding muscle mass

Offensive game

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 3/10 Defensive = 7/10

NHL Player Comparison:

Nikita Nikitin

Alexei Emelin

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THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph