Team: Sarnia Sting
Hometown: Mockobckar, Russia
Projected: First Round
Nikolay Goldobin is a very intriguing prospect. This offensively gifted Russian his found his way into the conversation around which are the best-offensive forwards in the 2014 NHL Draft. His hands, speed, creativity, shooting and passing allow him to preform at a very high level in the offensive zone and his stats show it.
At a -24, however, his stats also raise questions about his defensive capabilities and effort level; granted he is on a not-so-good Sarnia Sting team, which can play a large role in those results. Absent those defensive concerns, he would almost certainly be in the conversation for a top ten pick.
In addition to the questions noted above, there are reservations about his ability to play against bigger opponents. When you have a player that makes a living with offensive skill and has mediocre play everywhere else, you have to wonder whether or not he will be willing to add those other elements to his game to be successful.
If the answer to the previous question is no, you then have to decide if he would be patient enough to play in the NHL or if he would bolt to the KHL. His one saving grace, as I said of Ivan Barbashev before him, is that he turned down bigger money in the KHL to play in the OHL and learn the North American game, which can be looked at as a commitment to make his way in North America. His will be an intriguing story to watch come draft day.
"The one thing he has in common with Yakupov is that you can see how ecstatic he is to score," Marr said. "When Central Scouting puts the list together we don't look at the players' passport. I'm not saying the team's do but they may have a different emphasis when they put their list together or when they're making their selections. As we've seen in the past some special players do tend to fall a little bit because there is some concern."
"To me Goldobin is one of those players who can potentially get to the NHL sooner than other players taken ahead of him, but that's just because players develop at different degrees at this age group," Marr said. "He's got decent size (5-foot-11.5, 178 pounds) and has the attitude and personality that portrays an offensive game."
"[Goldobin] has a high energy and is smooth out there," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He's got good playmaking ability and he probably would have a lot more points if players were able to finish for him. He doesn't always need the puck, but he sets up linemates.
"Goldobin's offensive talents are off the chart and while he has been criticized about his commitments to the defensive game, I certainly feel he can develop and improve those skills under the right coaching. While setting up teammates with creative crafty passes has become his standout quality, it is his intelligent hockey sense that allows him to read the ice at such an elite level and that means he can utilize that same attribute to focus on his defensive assignments too. He just has to "want" to do it and it's his wildly inconsistent intensity that leaves scouts questioning his value."
Where He Would Fit
If I were GM for the Nashville Predators, I would have a hard time justifying picking Nikolay Goldobin with Barry Trotz as the coach; if Nail Yakupov is having trouble in Edmonton, there is no chance that Goldobin will work in Nashville. Trotz would want him to become much more committed defensively and I could not imagine Goldobin wanting to change his game that much. A few adjustments here and there are definitely needed for Goldobin but you should never ask a player to completely alter his game.
Now, if for some reason Trotz is gone by the end of the year and a coach who wants to bring more offense to the Predators comes in, I could see the Predators viewing Goldobin as a player they would be willing to take a chance on. His playmaking and scoring skills are undeniable and could make a great fit with players like Colin Wilson or Filip Forsberg.