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2021 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Nikita Chibrikov is an elusive, diminutive Russian winger - fitting the Blue Jackets mold

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A Russian winger outside of his projected draft slot? This is definitely the pick at five overall.

NHL: SEP 11 Blue Jackets Media Day Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We are less than a month away from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft (July 23-24), so it’s time to start researching the prospects likely to be selected in the first round. The Columbus Blue Jackets currently hold three picks in that round: #5, #24, and #30 or #31.

Nikita Chibrikov

Position: Left/right wing
Team: SKA St. Petersburg
Date of Birth: February 16, 2003
Birthplace: Moskva, Russia
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 172
Shoots: Left

Rankings

Ranked #17 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
Ranked #39 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
Ranked #21 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #11 by NEUTRAL ZONE
Ranked #26 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #23 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
Ranked #4 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (EU Skaters)
Ranked #20 by SPORTSNET’S
Ranked #15 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
Ranked #24 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
Ranked #23 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
Ranked #26 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Ranked #24 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Ranked #22 by TSN/McKenzie

2020-21 Stats

Games Played: 47
Goals: 6
Assists: 12
Points: 18
PIM: 67

Chibrikov is a small, offensively skilled winger that plays high event hockey - offensively talented, a playmaking facilitator, but whose work rate in the defensive zone is lacking. He is a high ceiling, low floor player who could boom into a top six role with proper development and usage, or could bust if he does not develop the rest of his 200-foot game.

Chibrikov could be a mainstay in the top six of an NHL team for a long time, but drafting him does present a risk, likely one too great for the Blue Jackets to consider at number five overall. His draft projections have been all over the map - he could be a worthy pick with one of the later first round picks, if he is still available.

Scouting Reports

Chibrikov combines speed and skill to be an unpredictable and elusive winger. Where he lacks in physicality and credibility in the defensive third, he excels at getting the puck up the ice and facilitating high-danger, high-octane offence. He’s split time between all three major tiers of Russian hockey this season, as well as playing on Team Russia at the Beijer Hockey Games. His offensive output locks him into this team’s top-six and will likely be a mainstay on the top line. - EPRinkside

A speedy and ultra-skilled winger, Chibrikov has been up and down boards a bit this season. His incredible puck skill and high-speed game intrigue many but his tendency to disappear at times is worrisome. He showed off just how impressive he can be at the World U18s for Russia as he led the tournament in assists and finished fourth overall in scoring. His high-octane style of attack should translate to the NHL with excellent puck carrying ability through the neutral zone and a relentless intent on getting the puck to dangerous areas. There is a bit of boom or bust to his game which is why he’s fallen down boards a but in some cases but a competitive team possibly adding a talent like this in a few years could be really fun. - DobberProspects

Chibrikov loves to drive to net-front. He will consistently look to drive to net-front with or without the puck. It doesn’t matter if it’s mid-cycle or off the rush, Chibrikov skates hard to the net. When it comes to getting to the net, Chibrikov has shown at all three Russian hockey levels (KHL, VHL and MHL) that he is more than capable of pushing off attackers, standing his ground and driving to the net without possession of the puck. When doing so, he keeps his stick blade facing parallel to the puck carrier incase the puck carrier passes to him as he charging the net. - Smaht Scouting

Highlights