Zakhar Bardakov – 2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Zakhar Bardakov

2020-21 Team: Vityaz Podolsk
Date of Birth: Feb. 24, 2001
Place of Birth: Seversk, Russia
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 198 pounds
Shoots: Left
Position: RW
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 third-year eligible


After being passed over twice, twenty-year-old Zakhar Bardakov knew this season was one of his last to make an impact and hear his name get called at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. For two straight seasons in a row, he led the MHL in penalty minutes, a stat that likely forced some scouts to put him on a “do not draft list.” Several NHL players have been passed over in the NHL Draft, some have gone on to have great careers. Bardakov is looking to add his name to that list.

Related: THW’s 2021 NHL Draft Guide

Bardakov spent last season in the MHL with Russkie Vityazi Chekhov, he managed to put up 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 59 games and led the MHL with 149 penalty minutes. He is a traditional power-forward: the big, gritty Russian drives hard to the net and is not afraid to take out anyone in front of him to create scoring opportunities. His skating is good. When it comes to his shot, he possesses a hard and accurate release. He will primarily use a wrist shot when coming off the wing but will occasionally go for a one-timer if he can catch the defenders off guard. Overall, his shot power and accuracy are good.

This past season, Bardakov suited up for Vityaz Podolsk in the KHL. While he scored eight goals in 44 games, his penalty minutes declined to a low of 32. The ability to use his strength and balance to win puck battles is one of Bardakov’s best traits. His net-front presence is also something to behold; he beats defenders with his strength to get down low and is able to be right on the doorstep for any rebounds.

His aggressive and intriguing play style earned him a spot on Team Russia at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. Throughout the tournament, he received praise from scouts for the amount of energy he brought every time he stepped onto the ice. He energized his line with explosive plays and even managed to get his name in the goal column. He finished the tournament with two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games. All in all, the tournament boosted his draft stock immensely. Bardakov was also nominated for the KHL”s Alexei Cherepanov Award for best rookie. He will suit up next year for the dominant SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL.

Zakhar Bardakov – 2021 NHL Draft Projection

Bardakov is an intriguing prospect and with that said, he could be picked just about anywhere. After his WJC performance, his stock began to rise and scouts took notice. Bardakov is projected to be selected around the fifth round, but don’t be surprised to see a team take a shot at him earlier in the draft.


“Passed over twice, one name that has popped up often over the past year – good or bad – is Bardakov. Bardakov plays a power forward game, but at points, it looked like he was more focused on the power side of things, evidenced by leading the MHL in penalty minutes in consecutive years. But in the KHL this season, Bardakov has found a way to hone his strength to his advantage and scouts especially loved his presence in the bottom six with Russia’s World Junior outfit”. – Steven Ellis, The Hockey News

“An angry two-way center who spent the season in the KHL, Bardakov served as a depth player on an underperforming Vityaz club which failed to make the playoffs. That certainly wasn’t Bardakov’s doing, as the rookie provided a consistent effort at even strength and was used on both special teams.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst


  • Physicality
  • Shot
  • Skating
  • Forecheck
  • Defensive IQ

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Discipline / Take less penalties
  • Creativity

NHL Potential

Bardakov has all the makings of a legitimate bottom-six center and special teams contributor. His game is more suited for the North American style of hockey. The team that drafts him will need to be patient with him throughout his development.

Risk/Reward Analysis 

Risk – 5/5, Reward – 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential 

Offense – 7/10, Defense – 6/10


  • 2018/2019: MHL Most Penalized Player
  • 2019/2020: MHL Most Penalized Player
  • 2020/2021: KHL Alexei Cherepanov Rookie of the Year Award (Nomination)

Zakhar Bardakov Statistics