Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: C German Rubtsov

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Ranked as the top Russian player in the draft, here is center German Rubtsov!

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Name: German Rubtsov

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’1″, 174 lbs

Team/League: Team Russia U18, MHL

Stats (from






28 12 14 26 1012

NHL CSS Ranking: 5th (European Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 4/5

NHL-potential: Top-six Forward

Draft Range: Late First to Early Second Round

Scouting report

"Rubstov is the classic prospect that seemingly comes out of nowhere in his draft year to have an astronomical rise up many draft rankings. He had a standout World Jr. A Challenge for Russia with his magician-like hands on display. He’s a skilled and powerful player who makes his teammates better, while being a matchup nightmare for the opposition. He was Red Wings written all over him. (Christopher Ralph, THW)"


German Rubtsov an extremely smart two-way center with tremendous playmaking abilities. Rated as the second-best European player not named Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, or Jesse Puljujarvi, his defensive play is exemplary with his ability to use his active stick to close off opposition’s passing lanes in all three zones of the ice. His reach has helped him pick pucks off of opposition sticks and off the boards. He reads the play well and anticipates the opposition’s moves.

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Rubtsov does not have the flash that the above-mentioned consensus top-three picks do. This may be due to his tendency to pass rather than to shoot. His vision is elite and his passes can put the opposition off balance.

His ability to carry the puck into positions into strategic positions is aided by his reach and his strong skating. His hands are deft when attacking the zone with the puck. When he does shoot, however, it finds the back of the net quite consistently.

He can be used in all situations as works extremely hard at all aspects of the game. His ability to play the transition game has scouts wondering if Rubtsov is the most “American” hockey player out of Russia. He forechecks well and is physically tenacious on the puck carrier.


His lanky frame is a concern. At just 174 pounds, his ability to become a sizable threat on the forecheck is limited. The frame and size also are affecting his faceoff abilities. Most scouts think the Rubtsov’s biggest downfall comes in the faceoff circle.

The biggest concern, however, should be the doping scandal. Almost the entire Russian U-18 squad was tested positive for Meldonium and Rubtsov was no exception. It resulted in the entire Russian squad getting replaced one week before the tournament, and Rubtsov was not able to participate in this year’s tournament. NHL scouts would have liked to see more of this player that some people are comparing to Detroit Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk.

Final Thoughts

As the top Russian available in the draft, expectations are high for Rubtsov. The fact that he is ranked as the fifth-best European player in the draft and potentially a top-15 pick despite the doping scandal speaks volumes about how much talent and potential scouts see in Rubtsov.

The Canucks are most likely not going to be in the position to draft Rubtsov, lest he falls to the second round. If the Canucks decide to trade for a first-round pick or move up from the second-round pick, it most likely goes to draft a defenseman, as the Canucks are probably picking either Matthew Tkachuk or Pierre-Luc Dubois with the fifth-overall pick. Unless a third Canuck pick is involved in the first round, this fantastic Russian prospect will not be drafted by Vancouver.

Rubtsov is a coach’s delight who does everything so well. His blend of size, speed, and strength makes him a very effective checker while his hockey IQ, his vision, and his nifty hands make him a potentially elite-level playmaker. His defensive coverage is stellar. He can do it all and is an opportune scorer when his team needs to be.

Next: Guide to the 2016 NHL Entry Draft: More Draft Profiles

The transition from the Russian game to the American game shouldn’t be too much of a problem for him either. The problem, though, will be how his doping scandal affects his draft position when June 24th comes. But as far as many scouts may be concerned, Rubtsov’s high hockey intelligence should not be a result of the drug. Rubtsov may fall down the rankings, only to become a steal pick for a team in the late first, the early second, or even in the middle second round.

All these issues should get worked out when the NHL Combine takes place in a week’s time from now.