We’re back with another top draft prospect ahead of the draft in June. Today we’re taking a trip to the Saskatoon Blades to take a look at Nikita Scherbak.
Nikita Scherbak is your prototypical Russia player who loves to score goals. He led the Blades in scoring in his rookie season in the WHL recording 69 points this season. He also laced up for Russia during the subway series against the CHL all stars. There’s something unique about Scherbak’s ability to always know where the puck is going to be. He’s always got himself in position for the right shot or to set up a teammate.
He’s got the size, the hands and the skills to be a top end talent in the NHL and those tools could result in him being taken just aside the top 10 instead of the late 20’s most are predicting. He’s wild card, but will help any team he goes to in the goals department. For someone who was taken 3rd last in the WHL draft, Scherbak has had quite the season with the Blades. He led all rookies in scoring and points and is now projected to go in the first round, not bad Mr. Scherbak, not bad.
What Will A Team Get If They Draft Him?
Any team that drafts Nikita Scherbak is going to get an offencive rocket who loves to score goals. He’s got great hands, an excellent nose for where the puck is going. He’s basically like a complete offencive package. He’s a creative playmaker who has excellent offensive-zone vision which helps him find his teammates. His combination of speed, excellent puck protection, willingness to take a hit to make a play or drive to the net adds a little “power forward” to his game as well.
In addition to his offencive side, Scherbak has some grit to this game and doesn’t take crap from his opponent. He’s a good skater with strong acceleration, and he’s quite aggressive on the fore-check. He sees the ice well, has good patience and anticipation with the puck and has shockingly good consistency for a player so new to the North American game.
His Underrated skill
Not sure if this really qualifies as a skill or not and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. However, Nikita Scherbak deserves a lot of credit for his ability to transfer into a North American style of hockey. When he came over it would have been expectable for him to develop into an every day solid rookie, however he became one of the best players in the WHL and CHL in his rookie year. Not bad for a kid who just came over from Russia.
He’s still a little bit raw on the North American ice but he overcame a lot of expectations in his rookie season; He quickly adapted to the small surface and showed he was just as capable of playing in the dirty areas as anyone else. He also learned a lot of english this season and now can joke around with his teammates.
What Needs To Be Worked On?
He doesn’t fall into the category of a lazy Russian player who doesn’t care much about defence, however his defence could definitely use some work. His defence did improve over the past season but he needs a little more work on the defencive side as he tends to float away with his coverage.
He also doesn’t play a very physical game and needs to add some weight to his 6 foot 2 frame so he can become a little stronger in the corners and on defence. Once he works on his defence and bulks up, he’ll have no issues being a top 6 forward on an NHL team in the next few season’s. He just finished his rookie season in the WHL, so he’ll be a few years before he’s ready for NHL regular minutes.