Leading up to the 2013 NHL Entry Draft in New Jersey, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Sunday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Aleksander Barkov (C)
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 205 Shoots: Left
Team: Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 European skater
What kind of player is he?
Barkov is the brand of player that makes you feel OK about not landing a Top 3 pick in this year’s draft. At his size, he’s got an NHL build right now and as a center, that makes him a prized player. With Nashville sitting at fourth, if Seth Jones doesn’t fall to them, they’ll likely happily take Barkov off the board.
This past season for Tappara, he had 21 goals and 27 assists and was 9th in the SM-liiga, Finland’s top pro league, in points with 48. He was by far the best player amongst draft prospects in that league and offers the brand of game that could see him start in the NHL immediately next season.
Downside? He had a shoulder issue last season that he says is getting better. That shouldn’t be enough to scare away anyone who might want him.
“He’s been described as NHL ready and I think that would be very accurate. He’s ready to step in and play. The game comes easy to him. He’s got size, he’s got skill and he’s very productive.” — Tony MacDonald, the Carolina Hurricanes’ director of amateur scouting (via Chip Alexander).
“Big body, shields puck well, big horse, GREAT in Sundsvall, man among boys, showed he can play with men.” — Mark Seidel – North American Central Scouting
“He shows a ton of upside as a forward who could walk onto an NHL roster immediately and help a team at the NHL level right away. He has a big upside and whichever team selects Aleksander will be very happy on June 30th.” — Mark Edwards – HockeyProspect.com