One of the most curious prospects at last year’s draft is on his way to North America.
Russian center German Rubtsov, selected 22nd overall by Philly, has reportedly terminated his contract with KHL club Vityaz and will now join Quebec junior league side Chicoutimi, per NHL.com.
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. This year he’s split time between Vityaz’s junior and senior teams, and was part of the Russian contingent that captured bronze at the world juniors.
Rubtsov will reportedly undergo facial surgery — related to a nose injury suffered at the WJC — in Philly, before heading to Quebec.