German Rubtsov, taken 22nd overall by Philly at the 2016 draft, has signed his entry-level deal, the club announced on Thursday.
Rubstov, 18, recently departed his KHL club and joined QMJHL Chicoutimi, where he’s been on fire with eight goals and 20 points in his first 14 games.
Rubtsov is an interesting story. He was the fifth-ranked European skater by Central Scouting, but was part of the Russian squad that was pulled out of the world under-18 championships in April.
The belief is that all, or most, of the team, had been on a meldonium regimen, and there were fears that many of the players would test positive at the tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Rubtsov is expected to be a top 25 pick this month in Buffalo, a talented two-way centre who is highly competitive.
“He’s like a dog on a bone,” said one hockey executive.
Another said he’s an “old school Russian centre who cares about the defensive side of the game.”
Philly had the 18th overall selection, but traded down (with Winnipeg) to take Rubtsov at No. 22.
Prior to joining Chicoutimi, he split time between Vityaz’s junior and senior teams, and was part of the Russian contingent that captured bronze at the world juniors.