Current Team: Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL
Date of Birth: December 14, 1995
Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia
Weight: 181 lbs
Every year there are top players who I'd like to see get drafted by the Jackets, regardless of where the team picks. This year, those players would be Sam Bennett, Willie Nylander and Nikolaj Ehlers. These guys, barring a trade-up, will all be gone by the time the Jackets pick at 16th overall, but are personal favorites of mine.
There are also guys who fall into the category of players who would likely be available when the Jackets pick. One of those players this year is next in line after the trio I mentioned earlier- Ivan Barbashev. Not only do I love this kid's game, there's a good chance he'll be available when the Jackets take the podium.
Forget the Russian factor, this kid wants to be an NHLer. Check this quote out, from an article by Mike Morreale:
"It was really important to me, because I want to play in the NHL," Barbashev said. "I was thinking about moving to Canada three years ago. I talked to my father (Dmitri) and agent (J.P. Barry) because, in Canada, that's my style of hockey. The physical game and stuff like that; that's why we moved to Canada."
He plays a two-way game, but also has high-end offensive ability. Add to this a willingness to throw his weight around on the ice, and you have the making of a very dynamic player.
"Ivan is a strong skater; he reaches top speed quickly and is a very good playmaker with quick hands," Central Scouting Director Dan Marr said. "He's not afraid to mix it up, competes one-on-one and battles for pucks. He can be a game breaker." - Dan Marr, in an article on NHL.com by Mike Morreale
Ivan is a determined and spirited player. Excellent leader who does so by example and has a focus on the team's best interests in all regards. Excellent hockey IQ in all regards and there is not a situation in the game that he can't make a difference in. Has the ability to 'step up' his game when necessary. Very good skills and can score as well as set up a play and is always in the 'guts of the action.' Off-the-charts character.- Bob McKenzie, TSN
Barbashev is a skilled playmaking winger with impressive vision and passing ability. He thrives in a high-paced offense. Has a good, hard shot and isn't transparent about making a pass or firing it on net. Has dynamic talent but inconsistent in his efforts. - Elite Prospects
A Good Fit in Columbus?
At the time of writing, the Jackets had the largest contingent of Russian players on their main roster. The significance of this is that if Barbashev were to be drafted to Columbus, he'll have a handful of countrymen mentors already in place as he continues to adapt to the culture of North America.
He's also an impact player who'd like good in almost any situation- he'd be equally effective on Ryan Johansen's wing putting up goals, or on Artem Anisimov's wing as part of a two-way line.
This kid is my ideal draft choice when the Jackets pick next month.
Barbashev in Action