Nikita Zaytsev is an exciting young Russian prospect. Look for him at this summer's NHL draft in Los Angeles.
The 2010 National Hockey League Draft Combine is underway in Toronto and the Goddesses are following the news closely. “What is this combine she speaks about?” some of you might ask. Well, for those unfamiliar, it is the annual pre-draft evaluation of NHL prospects. The top 100 prospects are invited for fitness evaluations, testing and interviews with general managers and scouts.
While the top North Americans are always discussed, many a Russian player has been neglected in recent years. The fear of drafting a Russian who will ultimately decide to play in the KHL instead, as well as some general xenophobia, has contributed to this. Unfortunately, this often leads to mention of our beloved Ruskies as a mere afterthought, with a simple glance at the “Top European Skaters” in the Central Scouting Final Rankings.
However, these journalists often forget to do their homework. If they had, they would see that most of the top-ranked Russians are currently playing junior hockey in North America and don’t get ranked under the European category but are ranked with the other North American skaters.
The Goddesses will try to highlight the Russian prospects in the days leading to the draft with interesting anecdotes and details as these players don’t often get their fair share of publicity. We believe this latest crop of Russian players are very talented and will make a huge impact in the NHL given a chance.
Alexander Burmistrov is one that has been particularly impressive and is currently ranked No. 11. Others slated to go in the first couple of rounds are Stanisvla Galiev (ranked at No. 20 among North American skaters) and Kirill Kabanov (at No. 31).
Of course, we can’t forget those Russians playing overseas such as Vladamir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov, ranked No. 2 and No. 3 among European players respectively.
As far as the combine is concerned, Russians invited to particapate were Burmistrov, Galiev, Kabanov, Tarasenko, as well as Nikita Zaytsev who is currently playing for HC Sibir Novosibirsk of the KHL. Such talent has not been seen in some years and I will be excited to watch the draft in person to see where these young players are picked.
So stay tuned for more posts about these talented malchiki (boys). We Goddesses think you might find them as interesting as we do.
Photo: Nikita Zaytsev from life.com.