2013 Draft Prospect Profile #4: Aleksandr Barkov

Photo by Mika Kylmaniemi, courtesy of Tappara

For our next 2013 Draft Prospect, we look at Finnish star Aleksandr Barkov, playing for Tappara of the Finnish SM-Liiga

Alexsandr Barkov

Position: Centre
Team: Tappara (SM-Liiga)
Age: 17
Date of Birth: September 2, 1995
Place of Birth: Tampere, Finland
Ht: 6' 3" Wt: 205 lb.
Shoots: Left

Regular Season Stats

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

53

21

27

48

8

18

Playoff Stats

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

PIM

5

0

5

5

2

3

If Aleksandr Barkov wasn't European (and let's be honest, if he wasn't of Russian Heritage), you'd be hearing about him in the same excited tones that analysts have been using to discuss Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon, or Jonathan Drouin.

The top rated European skater by NHL central scouting, Barkov has been a phenom his entire hockey carreer, first playing in the SM-Liiga at the age of 16, where he was the youngest player to ever score a point. (In fact, he'd put up 7 goals and 9 assists in 32 games - not bad for someone who had his first pro season before he could legally drive a car.) In his World Juniors debut a few months later, Barkov was the second youngest player in IIHF history to score a goal when he lit the lamp against Slovakia in the quarter finals.

This season, he was just shy of a point a game pace for Tappara, and returned to the WJCs where he contributed three goals and four helpers during the Finns seven game campaign. (Oh, and keep in mind that these were the Under-20 WJCs, not the Under-18s.)

He's already filling out impressively, he's fast, he's skilled, and he's shown that he can light the lamp against older, bigger, and tougher opponents. He has "future superstar" written all over him, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Scouting Reports

A very calm center who uses his vision well, Barkov has an excellent offensive game and good size. His very good passing and puckhandling combined with great hands and hockey sense make him a big offensive threat. He plays with high confidence and never seems to be under pressure. Barkov is a creative with a very solid overall package and the skill set to compensate for his below-average skating, making him one of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.

-Matias Strozyk, EliteProspects.com

He is already a good-sized center man at 6'2" 205 lbs. as he is actually two weeks shy of being eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft as late '95 birthday. He was the youngest player out on the ice at the Herb Brooks Arena this summer. You could see he was a bit younger by his approach to the game being a tad apprehensive, although he also displayed at times his deceptive moves and skill sets. He is an intelligent player at 16-years old, shows poise with the puck, and good offensive instincts. Overall, he is a valuable all-around player who will return to Finland's WJC roster for a second go-a-round and garner considerable NHL attention this season.

-Russ Bitely, USA Hockey, MyNHLDraft.com

Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:

Barkov is a phenomenal scoring talent who shows signs of being a decently responsible defensive player as well. While Columbus does have guys like Ryan Johansen, Brandon Dubinsky, and Artem Anisimov up front, it's hard to say if they really have a "WOW" talent like Barkov in the system. (Boone Jenner is a lot of things, but I don't see him or Michael Chaput becoming NHL point-per-game players. Barkov just might.) Even better, he brings the kind of size that would work well alongside guys like Gaborik, Foligno, or even Johansen.

The Roster Viking got an eyeful of Barkov while he was running Jokerit for the last two years, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if he liked what he saw. If Columbus decided to make a move into the top five, don't be surprised if Barkov is the reason.

Barkov In Action:

(Yeah, I know, the music...oye.)

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