“Another day, another draft pick that would be a good fit for the Boston Bruins if the 2014 NHL Draft just so happens to transpire in an advantageous way that would greatly benefit the hockey club.” – Bo Jackson
We continue down the draft road to Philadelphia by making a stop BEHIND THE (former) IRON CURTAIN! By way of New Brunswick.
I’m old enough to remember when Russians simply weren’t in the NHL. While dominant every four years on the Olympic stage, it wasn’t until the Cold War began to thaw that players from the former Soviet bloc began to arrive and quickly made an impact in the NHL. Hungry to unleash their talents on North America – and be rewarded handsomely in the process – it didn’t take long to assert their place throughout the league. Wizard of Ov’s, anyone? While not known for the same physical style that distinguished the North American game, they had speed, skill, and discipline in abundance.
That was then.
Nowadays, Russian players are typically characterized by a lack of desire to etch out careers in the NHL, and that’s IF they even want to make the trip over in the first place. Even though the NHL still offers the greatest players and competition in the world, the KHL is a viable alternative to many. While skilled Russians still do play in the NHL, they’re not exactly known for their dedication to all facets of the game. Disagree? Just check out Ovi ‘playing defense’…
As a result, there is definitely a stigma attached to Russian-born draft prospects. “The Russian Factor”, as it’s typically called.
Enter Ivan Barbashev.
Ivan Barbashev, LW
6’, 180 lbs
ISS Ranking: 19
Barbashev was the #1 overall pick in the CHL Import Draft a few years ago, and his family made the trek to Canada so Ivan could pursue his dream of playing in the NHL. Strangely, Barbashev LIKES those physical aspects of North American hockey that keep so many other Russian prospects away. He LIKES playing two way hockey, and is equally adept in his own zone as he is the offensive zone. Simply put, he is tailor made to play for a team like the Bruins.
Offensively, he offers plenty of flash in his game. After scoring nearly a point a game during his rookie year in Moncton, he exploded this past year for 68 points (25 g, 43 a) in only 48 contests. In addition to that, he has competed for Russia admirably on the world stage, being a key contributor in both the WU18 and WJC. While not possessing the overall skill of a Pavel Datsyuk, the type of game that he plays is the same. Barbashev is a talented winger who plays a complete game.
Other reasons why the Bruins should consider Barbashev if he’s available at 25:
– Marshall can make a lot more Rocky 4 inspired photoshops.
– He can restore pride to the name ‘Ivan’ and make us all finally forget Ivan Huml.
– He apparently knows THIS girl.
Check out the highlights: