Evgeni Kuznetsov Profile
Evgeni KuznetsovHt/Wt: 5' 11"/170 lbs
Team: Traktor (KHL)
Evgeni Kuznetsov's Player ProfileOne of the real wildcards in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft is Russian forward Evegeny Kuzetsov, who spent time playing in the KHL last year for Traktor, as well as a 9 game stint in the MHL. Despite flying under the radar most of the year, generally the result of playing out of the North American sphere of influence, Kuznetsov has gradually proved that he is one of the most pure offensive talents available in this draft crop.
Kuznetsov has spent his development years working his way up the organizational chart with Traktor-Chelyabinsk, but made his first foray into the international spotlight last season. After a very impressive showing with the Russian U17 team, where he notched 6 goals and 10 points in only 5 tournament games, he was outstanding at the U18’s as an underager, where he managed 6 goals and 13 points in only 7 games played.
The late season tournament sparked a lot of interest in the lanky Russian winger, as talk began to circulate about Kuznetsov being a sure-fire first rounder in 2010, who could go anywhere from the Top 10 to the back end of the round. Kuznetsov made the jump to the KHL this year, where despite seeing limited minutes, managed to chip in with 2 goals and 9 points. He also saw some time in the MHL, where he was assigned, but quickly outclassed the competition with 4 goals and 16 points in only 9 games played.
Kuznetsov was selected to the Russian U20 team in the World Juniors despite being only 17 years old, where he was able to score 2 goals in the tournament and made some good impressions. He then went on to cap the season wearing the captaincy for the Russian U18 team as he once again was among the premier players in the tournament with 5 goals and 12 points in 7 games played.
Amidst rumours of Kuznetsov potentially bolting for the CHL next year, he recently re-signed with Traktor for two more years which will not only cripple those rumours, but also potentially hurt his NHL draft stock as teams may be leery of his impending commitment to the KHL. While the contract will definitely be a barrier for a lot of NHL teams, there is still no doubting that he’s a first round talent on the ice.
Many have been quick to compare him to Alex Semin, as he’s a quick skater with a plethora of offensive tools that could allow him to be a big-time scorer in the NHL one day. He’s an elusive player with very good hands and a good shot, but also has tremendous hockey sense. He’s a threat anytime he has the puck, and is definitely a player that has the creative ability to manufacture offense.
His strength will be a concern for now, as he does need to bulk up. There have also been rumblings that his attitude could use some improvement, but it should be noted that he is a loyal player in that he has elected to re-sign with his hometown KHL club, despite some other potentially more lucrative offers available. His positioning and overall play will need work, but playing in the KHL should afford him that opportunity to become more of a complete player.
Pros: Elite Skating Ability, Vision, Stickhandling/Deking
Cons: Strength, PositioningSubmitted by: Scott Campbell of TheScoutingReport.org
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Evgeny Kuzketsov goal
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