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2016 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: German Rubtsov

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A relative unknown compared to other top prospects, Rubtsov will be one of the most intriguing players to watch for in the opening round of the draft

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Name: German Rubtsov

2015-16 Team: Team Russia U18 (MHL)

Stats: 28 GP, 12 goals, 14 assists, 26 points, 10 PIMs, +12

Future Considerations Ranking: 17th

NHL Comparable Player: Logan Couture

One thing is for certain about German Rubtsov's fate at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft: the team that selects him is going to have a lot of faith in it's Russian scouts.

Rubtsov has been on quite a wild ride this season. He was an inaugural member of the newly-formed Team Russia Under-18 club (their attempt at emulating the widely successful USA Hockey National Team Development Program) and spent his entire season playing with them in Russia's top under-20 league, the MHL. After not getting a chance to suit up for any games in the KHL many NHL teams were looking forward to seeing Rubtsov take to the ice against his peers from different countries at the 2016 IIHF U18s in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

But then, at the last moment, scandal: the entire Russian under-18 roster tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug meldonium and was removed from the tournament, replaced by the country's U17 team.

Just like that, teams and their scouting staffs lost one of the best possible opportunities to get a good, final look at Rubtsov.

Despite this big setback, however, he is still widely being considered a lock for the 1st round thanks to a lot of buzz from the scouting community and good showings at the 2015 IIHF U18s (as a 16 year-old on a team full of 17 year-olds) and the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. The big questions now, though, are how comfortable teams are in their projections of him and, because of that, how high he'll go at the draft.

While the full details of the doping situation are still not commonly known, the situation shouldn't be held against Rubtsov as an individual. As Sportsnet's Gare Joyce reported, that blame likely falls more on the team's management and trainers than on the players themselves.

In terms of actual hockey abilities, scouting reports and video footage suggest that Rubtsov offers a very tantalizing package. He's a well-rounded weapon offensively, combining solid skating, shooting, passing and creativity, and possesses a very dedicated and enthusiastic attitude towards defense, regularly coming back hard on the back check. He plays on both the powerplay and the penalty kill.

His 26 points in 28 games on his MHL club were the highest points-per-game average on the team.

He's not a huge player, at roughly 6'1", but he's already solidly built and will only continue to fill out his frame. He uses his body to effectively shield the puck when he has it on his stick.

It seems likely that Rubtsov will be gone by the time the Stars are picking at 25th overall, but he could be a hard player for the team to pass up if he is somehow still available. A potential all-Russian line of Rubtsov, Valeri Nichushkin and Denis Gurianov could be quite a sight to behold in the future.

Highlights (he's usually wearing #17):