Team: Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Hometown: Moscova, Russia
Ivan Barbashev is breaking the mold that almost all Russian players seem to be cast from. When you think of a Radulov, a Kovalchuk, or an Ovechkin, you think of high offensive skill and little defensive intensity. Unlike those players, Barbashev brings a very physical element to the game but, thankfully, like those players he does have a lot of skill.
He is known as a playmaker, using vision, speed, and passing ability to set teammates up, but he also has nice finishing ability and is not afraid to drive to the net to use it. He is the kind of player that thrives in a fast-pace offense. Defensively, he has improved a lot this season. He has great hockey sense in the defensive zone and is not afraid to check or be checked to make a play.
Being Russian definitely has its drawbacks for a player who has stated he wants to be a top ten pick and play in the NHL. Actions speak louder than words though and his actions definitely reflect his words. Last season, despite being drafted to the KHL, he turned down big money to come over to North America. These factors, along with his style of play, suggest the "Russian factor" should not be a problem with Barbashev.
Late last month, Vladamir Tkachev came over to the NHL from Russia and ever since then, Barbashev has been playing very well. If his point production continues and a team is willing to push aside the "Russian Factor", he could find his way into the top ten.
"Every European has to make a North American adjustment, but the bottom line is talent and Barbashev has it," Marr said. "He's a dynamic player who plays with a presence and who looks to get involved and finish the hit. He's not shy and is a strong skater with good drive to the net. He's got very good hands and puck control, and is able to set up nice plays going at top speed. He's got a good shot with a quick, accurate release, has a good work ethic and leads by example."
Ivan is a determined and spirited player. Excellent leader who does so by example and has a focus on the team's best interests in all regards. Excellent hockey IQ in all regards and there is not a situation in the game that he can't make a difference in. Has the ability to 'step up' his game when necessary. Very good skills and can score as well as set up a play and is always in the 'guts of the action.' Off-the-charts character.
Where He Would Fit
Ivan Barbashev is a very similar player to Filip Forsberg and they approach the game in a similar way. Barbashev is also a left-handed left-winger so putting them together would be almost a no-brainer and those two players could become spark plugs for an anemic Nashville Predators offense.
In order to make this pairing happen (assuming the Predators are still inside the top ten), the Predators' GM will have to look past his Russian factor. If they move up in the standings to number ten or so, however, drafting Barbashev might be a risk they would be willing to take.