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02-13-2013, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Originally Posted by
Well... he really is a mystery at the moment, isn't he?
If we talk about the numbers in MHL then I do not think we have to worry that much. Roberts Lipsbergs is of the same size and a similar player, before this year in WHL he put up 28 points (14+14) in 58 MHL games. Bukarts at the moment already has 32 points (16+16) in 50 games... Of course stats do not tell everything about a player and how he will perform next year but as it looks like now, he might not be 1st round prospect but draft should definitely not pass him...
As you already said, the problem is that he's inconsistent. One game he looks fantastic, another game- does not show anything. If we look at U20 preparation games he was one of the best among the U20 guys when he still had not reached his full 17 (birthday December 31), and then he was silent in the U20 Worlds.... Even in U18 last year he was outscored by Golovkovs and didn't get even a goal. In big games he just does not show up and that's not good. He's got plenty of speed and talent, just it does not show always.... A few days ago again he dominated in U18 preparation games, let's see U18 tournament and whether he shows up or not.
The coaches know that he needs to improve his game in defense, so they are giving him more work in that field, also HK Rīga is a bit better team than Stupino where he was last year, also he doesn't quite play with the best offensive partners (Siksnis and Begovs) and still outscores Jeļisējevs who plays in the 1st line with 2 guys with KHL experience years older than Bukarts. He's nr. 2 in scoring and goal scoring in HK Riga, he's 4th in the number of shots made (after the three guys from the first line) and third in shot accuracy. His +/- is not that impressive which also stresses the bad performance in defence although it has improved recently.
Therefore there might be other factors. Last year he was a rookie in a very bad team who was given free reign in the attack probably as the team sucked anyway and now they have put him with hard workers and tell him to play in defence. Maybe he's lazy, maybe he's still not yet realized that junior hockey is different from men's hockey- we will see, he's still young and has not missed anything.
I believe that thinking that he's a bust is premature. There's no other guy in whole Russia and KHL region from 2014 draft class IMHO who has produced better numbers in MHL, even if we talk about statistics.
Let's not forget that before his draft year Grigorenko in MHL had 35 points (17+18) in 43 games, Bukarts has 32 (16+16) in 50, not insanely huge difference. Of course Grigorenko has different size... The size issue is very import but not as big in today's NHL as it was. Yakupov is 1.79, if we believe eliteprospects, look at Skinner - another NHL wonderboy. The cm are not as important as the muscle mass, and if we can believe MHL numbers 84 kilos at the age of 17 for the height of 1.79 is good. And his face already shows that he has worked in the gym in the summer.
If we talk about Maslovskis then in comparison to Bukarts he's a miniature...
I have a feeling that Bukarts will be drafted in CHL this year and will head over and frankly it would be better for his development.
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