I saw Max with the Sabres and in Russia, and saw both of them play in Europe.
Max STILL hasn't learned to use his linemates and his speed sometimes causes problems even for him (i.e. he follows the puck and jams into his own defenseman at the opponents blue line). He COULD break out this year. But people are saying that every year.
Prucha has the potential to become a two-way top-6 forward, good for 25 goals, and can be used extensively on both PP and PK.
Even now, with Prucha still to play a game in teh NHL, after watching him in EUrope, I'd take him over Max.
Two different types of players in my mind. Both skilled. Max uses his speed to his advantage more than Prucha would because its the largest assest for him. Without Maxs speed he wouldnt be in the NHL. Prucha is more well rounded and is more of a down low type player and hits more. But Max is just flat out FAST.
Prucha, if he can adjust well to the NHL style (and hes shown he has the talent and willingness to..) i can see him netting close to 30, maybe 40 depending how the game changes. (This year i expect 15-22 goals if he plays every day) Maybe im drinking the Prucha Kool-Aid but we'll see.
Theres a part of me that wants to bump that estimation up even more because ive seen about 6 opportunities that he created by himself which almost resulted in a goal. 1 in particular impressed the hell out of me, we he made a toe drag move around a defensman and got a backhand off that barely missed the far side. Very quick, and no hesitation. He has very good poise with the puck in and around the net which is good to see for someone adjusting to the game. Will he FINISH though? Thats the big question. He also seems to have a really good nack of finding the puck and getting into the open areas.
Hes gonna need some quality developing time though, like all of the rookies. I think hes set for this level right now. If i had to pick one rookie i want on the team its him. BUT - I can see a kid like him getting caught up in the whole NYC scene too, cause hes a good looking kid (except he cant speak much english, but who can in this city?) I hope that the Vets (Jagr) keep him in line if they have to.
I saw Maxim play in Russia and was blow away by his speed and hands, but he just doesnt have the size to be a real top tier NHL player. He'll get pushed around.
So far thats kinda what I see with Prucha. He has good speed and hands but I dont know if he can withstand getting beat up and pushed around in the NHL. Don't know if he'll show the scoring touch of Maxim either.
Maxim Afinogenov is a slightly bigger version of older Bure but without Bure's insticts, creativity and hockey smarts. I think there's something else missing too, but I can't pin it down. I'd say that Bure has more will to score, to win... Yeah, it's the will to put the puck in net. Bure would do pretty much anything to score - he'd use every talent that he has to score that goal. Max is just fast with great hands and not much else.
Prucha is not as flashy or as fast as Maxim. But he's smarter, he's mentally stronger, he's more creative and he has that will like Bure has - he'd use every available talent that he has to make a play, be it finding an open linemate or score a goal. I've seen him only a couple of times and I've noticed his willingness to do whatever it takes.