The final leg of our NHL Draft Scout Series lands across the Atlantic in Europe, as our own Christian Roatis chatted with Future Considerations’ Roman Solovyov (@croulmane).
Christian: Specifically out of Europe, what do you think the strength of this draft class is as a whole? (skill, character, etc)
Roman:I think mostly skill, character and work hard, but mostly leadership. You can’t generalize the whole draft, but there are big leaders in this age group.
C: William Nylander and Kasperi Kapanen have fought for the distinction of top Euro in 2014, which has come out on top in your opinion?
R: I haven’t seen too much Kapanen’s plays this year, but I liked mostly Nylander, who could be game-changer, he could do everything with the puck. (Christian’s Note: Kapanen is a similar magician with the disk. Both are game changing, skill guys.)
C: How do you see each of them projecting? Can they be impact NHLers?
R: Again, I could only speak about Nylander, and his future still in the shadows. He could be another Kirill Kabanov, they’re big friends and they have some strange traits in their behavior. They both wanted to be primadonnas on their team, and it would be difficult to stay on track with those kind of priorities. But he could also be a star if he puts it all together. (Christian’s note: Kapanen is a similar type in that he doesn’t bring it every night.)
C: For an elite offensive talent, Jakub Vrana hasn’t really piled up points. What’s the story on him?
R: Jakub was on an SHL team where he didn’t get enough icetime, his National Team partner Pastrnak was in 2nd tier league and played more. But Vrana puts himself on the radar at U18 level, he’s a great shooter, mover of the puck, also good at playmaking, and physical play. He’s one of the open players at this age group; very friendly
C: Not much has been made of David Pastrnak, what can you tell us about him?
R: He’s more playmaking type than Vrana, big body, puck moving. But he’s not so mature as Vrana. All around though, similar players.
C: One fast riser has been Russian Vladislav Kamenev, but not much has been published on him. Can you shed some light on the mystery Russian?
R: First thing is that he was invited by Mike Keenan to main team of Metallurg, he played few games in the season and even scored. Also after some movement players, his role on the National Team was increased and he became a captain for Russia at WJC U18. But for me it’s very doubtful he becomes a pro captain, because he’s not a big leader, very shy guy, who don’t like to be in attention. His best trait is that he’s a two-way player, but it’s difficult to understand where he plays better – on offense or on defence. It’s a compliment mostly for his defensive way.
C: Speaking of Russians, goaltender Igor Shestyorkin appears to be one of the top Euro goaltenders this year. Is he anywhere in the Vasilevski talent region?
R: I compare this few days ago, and I could say yes. They’re very close to each other, maybe the same type of character. They easily recover after conceding a puck, could sometimes shows all their emotions on the ice. But Shestyorkin could easy calm down off the ice. He has very right in the psychological part. Maybe his techniques not so good as Vasilevski, but Shestyorkin is very good in stopping puck as well.
C: Are there any other goaltenders to keep an eye on?
R: I could say that by my info, Ilya Sorokin who played his second season in theKHL would be drafted, even he though he wasn’t last year. Also Ivan Nalimov could move to NA soon. In comparison to earlier, Sorokin maybe has better technique but he’s not so mentally strong as Shestyorkin.
C: The 1st round always holds a lot of weight with fans, but the later rounds often offer solid value as well, who are some potential Euro gems that are currently ranked outside the Top 30?
R: I would pick Anton Karlsson, he’s very hard-working guy, he’s a warrior. His season was full of up-and-downs. And if Vladimir Tkachev play in CHL all year, he would be in Top-15 – even higher than Barbashev. He’s full of skills and very comparable with William Nylander, but not quite as skilled. (Christian’s Note: Karlsson was ranked inside most people’s Top 15 to start the year, but nose dived right out of 1st round conversation)
C: Who are some European prospects you see as overrated?
R: Most of the scouting services mentioned Arhip Nekolenko as a first-round player. He was overrated for the whole season. He didn’t play – his stocks raised for some reason. He’s a good playmaker, with good skating, but he didn’t play physical play at all, at least haven’t seen it. For this there is a possible explanation that he has a health problems.
C: How does the 2014 International class compare to recent ones? Do you buy the notion that 2014 is a weak draft?
R: For Europe it would a very good draft, now we have two good Czechs who was on the radar last years, we have Nylander and Kapanen who played at this level not now, also we have a group of Russian born, late birthday kids. It’s a very good generation of European kids. The only question is how their handled once they move to NA.
C: Are there any second or third time eligibles that have made a considerable case this year to finally be picked?
R: I mentioned Nalimov and Sorokin, here believed more in Sorokin that he would be finally picked. Also Nikita Tryankin, big D, who played in top pairs in KHL with 20 minutes ice-time in game. And also it’s Rinat Valiev, who played for Kootenay last season.
C: Who’s your favourite eligible and why?
R: Here is obvious that I liked mostly players who is very friendly with media, with whom you could share conversation. I can’t pick one, so namely: Ivan Barbashev, Rinat Valiev, Vladimir Tkachev. Great guys, who made an improvement last seasons. Also in Europe: Shestyorkin, Vrana and Karlsson.
Big, big stick-tap to Christian for all his Scout Series previews of this year’s draft!