There is no denying what the Flyers are trying to do. They are a team in a rebuild, that remains focused at rebuilding through the draft. General Manager Ron Hextall has preached patience, and he remains focused at using his young prospects to fill vacancies. Good scouting and key draft selections are huge in today’s NHL.
When the Flyers selected German Rubtsov 22nd overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, the hockey world instantly blew up. The Flyers may have selected the next “Russian Missle.” Rubtsov fell to the Flyers lap, after teams discovered a doping scandal that involved the Russian team he once played for.
Hextall spoke to reporters after the draft, and had this to say about the Rubtsov doping scandal, “We did our research on this kid, trust me. Up, down and all around. Inside their country and everything else. We’re convinced that it’s not an issue.”
So who really is German Rubtsov? We have heard time and time again by scouts and general managers alike that he could be the next big thing in Philadelphia, as soon as he was able to leave the KHL. With Rubtsov arriving in North America earlier than expected, this segment will uncover who he really is as a player.
Rubtsov was born June 27, 1998, in Chekhov, Russia. He began his professional hockey career playing for the Russkie Vityazi, at the start of the 2014-15 season. In his first season, he amassed 1 goal, and 4 assists a total of 5 points in 11 games played.
For the 2015-16 season, Rubtsov began competing for Team Russia U18 of the Junior hockey league (MHL). To no ones surprise he made the team convincingly. He showed his versatility by playing in any situation the coaching staff asked of him. For the season, he garnered 12 goals, and 14 assists for a total of 26 points in 28 games played.
The 18 year old standout, wanted to showcase his talent at the World Championships, with the hopes of playing before NHL scouts. Each member of the Team Russia U18 tested positive for a banned substance called melondium. This forced the committee to bar the team from competing in the World Championships. He was devastated, but forced to move on when he found out his fate.
The Team Russia U18 product, was able to participate in the World Junior Championships after all. He suffered a broken nose just five games in, and that ended his stint in the Championship.
At age 18, Rubtsov wanted to move on from the doping scandal, as it never deterred him from possibly playing in the NHL. Even though, his stock was dropping heavily, he still continued to dream of one day playing in the NHL. His dream came true when the Flyers called out his name during the 2016 NHL Draft with the 22nd pick.
After Rubtsov was selected by the Flyers, he tried putting an end to the scandal stating, “None of us really knew (what it was). We had a little glass of juice and some tablets. We were told (by the coaching staff) in the morning, ‘Take this. It’s good for your health.’ Later we found out it wasn’t allowed.”
Rubtsov had to return back to Russia after being drafted by the Flyers. He was still under a two year contract agreement with Vityaz Podolsk in the KHL. He was then traded back to the Russkie Vityazi for the start of the 2016-17 season, to which he garnered 7 goals, and 8 assists for a total of 15 points in 15 games played.
On January 9, 2017, Rubtsov terminated his KHL contract. He was then able to join the junior team of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. This made him expendable to be signed to an entry level contract with the Flyers.
According to Doug Praskach of predlines.com, Rubtsov is a comparison to Pavel Datysuk. Rubtsov is referred to as Pavel Datsuk 2.0. Below is a scouting report of Rubtsov provided Doug Praskach of predlines.com:
“Excellent chance to make it and maybe soon. He has silky hands and moves and is a pass first center that can make magical plays.”
To no surprise, the Flyers finally signed the stud to a three-year entry-level contract on March 2, 2017. The deal was for $2.9 million, with an average cap hit of $925,000.
With Rubtsov finally under contract with the Flyers, they have multiple options to further his development before training camp opens next season. They are able to place him with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the rest of the season, or they can let him finish his season in junior hockey. Either way he will be with the Flyers for the foreseeable future, and Hextall will not rush his development. He truly has all the goods to become a star in the NHL, thus making him a draft day steal.
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Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports