Aleksander (Sasha) Barkov is a very impressive talent developing in Finland, he's an all around player whose offensive and defensive skills are excellent. He broke the record for the most points scored by someone younger than 18 in the SM-Liiga, beating previous record holder Olli Jokinen in 1997-98. He had 48 points in 53 games this season and is one of the top prospects that will be coming out of this draft class.
At 6"3 210 Barkov is probably already physically mature enough to handle the rough and tumble of the NHL. it seems likely, unless the team which drafts him is cautious, that he will be stepping into either the AHL or NHL next season. If he can handle the SM-Liiga and produce like he did he's definitely ready for the AHL at the least.
Barkov's size and strength makes it nearly impossible to knock him off the puck and he is able to keep going no matter the opposition. His offensive vision is excellent and he can nearly always find an open linemate with every pass. However though his skating is above average and pretty good its not at the level of his other skills and attributes. If he could improve his speed he would become even more deadly.
Aleksander Barkov has the potential to become a top playmaking centre at the NHL level and has dominated in an adult league at the age of 18, something which is highly impressive. Not only can he make plays he also has some excellent hands and sniper ability. While it might be expected that as a top playmaking and offensively talented centre he would lack defensively he does everything that needs to be done and more in his own zone.
In essence, and I don't say this very often, Aleksander Barkov is the complete package. There are no glaring weaknesses and what could be improved upon, for example his skating, is already above average and its just a matter of perfecting it.
I would be very confident in predicting that Aleksander Barkov is drafted within the top four of this draft, probably by Nashville Predators, which means that he is out of the Dallas Stars reach. Its highly unlikely he falls and the cost to move up into the top four would likely be more than the Stars would be willing to pay. It's a shame as everything about him and his work ethic and attitude screams what the Dallas Stars want in a player and is my favourite out of the consensus top five of Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Valeri Nichushkin and Aleksander Barkov.
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Aleksander Barkov possesses the rare combination of size and outstanding technical skills along with an ability to quickly analyze situations. He is very mature in terms of hockey sense at an early age and has had success playing against much older players in Finland's SM-Liiga. His skating ability is still developing but is not a weakness. Does not play an abrasive game but has the size and strength to withstand the rigors of the more physical North American game.
Ranked ninth in SM-liiga scoring with 48 points, the most ever by a player his age, breaking the league record set by Olli Jokinen in `96-7 .. named MVP at the U20 4-Nations tournament in November (3-0-3-3) .. represented Team Finland at the U20 World Juniors, leading all under-18 players in scoring (6-3-4-7) .. native of Tampere, Finland - and son of Alexander, a former pro hockey player born in Novosibirsk, Russia .. SCOUTING REPORT .. big, skilled playmaking pivot .. highly methodical - plays with remarkable poise and maturity for his age .. always calm and in control .. crafty puckhandler and passer - supported by soft, strong hands and a finely-honed sense for pressure .. feels where the space is - and will wait that extra second for plays to open up .. never panics or rushes decisions .. makes brilliant, no-look plays and deft, one- touch passes .. can control the tempo of a game, powered by uncanny hockey sense .. boasts sharp in-close finishing abilities - and a wristshot that is quick and powerful .. his release is compact and his slapshot packed with twang .. exploits his formidable strength and powers through to create a sling-shot effect - accentuated by a long flexible stick .. feet are large and skilled, but not overly quick or agile .. can appear stiff, heavy-footed - first few strides could be more explosive .. does generate deceptive power from a long, flat stride .. physical development is quite advanced - already thick and filled out .. easily absorbs hits and knows how to assert his size advantage .. must guard against let-downs however, especially in puck battles .. tends to lose steam at times .. can play with greater physical intensity - doesn't always go out of his way to finish hits and gets a tad casual defensively .. ended last season on a sour note, suffering a playoff-ending shoulder injury.
International Scouting Services:
Great all-around player with tremendous hockey IQ and the playmaking ability to amplify the skills of those around him.
Every year Finland seems to produce at least one player that gets the entire hockey-mad nation extremely excited. The problem is, that player always has one glaring weakness, whether it's size or strength, etc. That isn't the case with Barkov. He has the total package. He's a big, strong kid who looks like a man and plays like a man. In fact he's outplaying most of Finland's top players in the SM- Liiga. He has great hands, sees the ice well, can dominate the middle lanes and really knows how to get the puck to dangerous areas of the ice. On top of that, he does his job defensively, will block shots and has a relentless will to win. He has an absolute ton of potential.
Go-to-guy, can score and can match up against anyone.
Style compares to: Ryan Getzlaf
(Apologises for the music I couldn't find a non music highlight video so instead went for video quality. )