Every day leading up to the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft on Tuesday, October 6, we will be profiling prospects who are likely to be in range of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ selection at #21. We will continue our player reviews of the forwards later in the week as well.
Position: Left Wing
Team: Salavat Yulaev Ufa (KHL)
Date of Birth: April 15, 2002
Birthplace: Salavat, Russia
Ranked #17 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #14 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
Ranked #16 by ISS HOCKEY
Ranked #19 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #25 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #5 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #16 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #19 by TSN/McKenzie
Games Played: 21
Games Played: 17
Rodion Amirov, based on most scouting reports, is the ideal prospect: a winger with a 200 foot game, a good shooter with good hands, a strong work ethic, and a great mind on the ice. The Russian also has professional experience, making his KHL debut during the 2019-20 season at just 18 years old - the transition to the NHL and North America should not phase him.
Some, however, believe he will not last until the latter part of the first round. From All About The Jersey:
To that end, if the Devils are picking between picks #12 and #17, and Amirov is on the board, he should be someone high on their draft board, if not at the very top. How can you argue against a winger with a strong mind who is great in all three zones, plays successfully on both the PP and PK, and already has pro experience in the 2nd best league in the world, and will have a full season of that next year to add to it? If that doesn’t sound like someone who can compete for a roster spot as soon as the 2021-22 season, I don’t know what else you could be looking for.
If he lasts, he could be a great pick for the Blue Jackets. It is not clear, however, that he’d be an option.
“Amirov’s game doesn’t have many flaws, as he’s a great skater which in turn makes him a great forechecker. Even though he’s not the biggest of forwards, he plays with an aggressive mindset and is unafraid of physicality along the boards. But the biggest asset of his game is his hockey IQ and ability to influence the game from all three zones and both special teams. The work ethic and attitude he possesses is also second-to-none. Basically he’s a complete player who is only going to get better. Expect him to attract a lot of attention from teams selecting in the top half of the first round. Amirov has all the tools to succeed in the NHL from his elite two-way game to his hockey IQ and ability to come through in clutch situations, he is a player you win Stanley Cups with. Throw in his overall work ethic and mature attitude, and you have a complete player. He may not light it up as a top-line winger, but he will provide great production as a top-nine forward playing on both the power play and penalty kill.” -The Hockey Writers
“An impressive two-way winger. Competes for every puck and tends to win thanks to his balance and strong core. Makes the subtle plays that add up. Still searching for that separation speed.” -Dobber Prospects
“Shifty, aggressive and incredibly smart, Amirov impacts the game in all three zones with or without the puck.” … “He can play either side of center, and his shot accuracy on his off-wing is as accurate as it is on his strong side.” … “Amirov has a quick first step, but his directional changes in open ice are incredibly rapid and perfectly timed.” … “Amirov excels in both areas of special teams.” … “sharp instincts and decision making combine to force opponents into bad choices.” … “He has soft hands to handle tough passes, and his skate-to-stick transition is among the best you’ll see from a pre-draft teenager.” … “extremely elusive in tight spaces” … “He enters the offensive zone with his head up and consistently identifies and connects with the best option.” -Steve Kournianos, the Draft Analyst