Player: Nikolay Goldobin
Drafted By: San Jose Sharks (27th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 24 North American skater
Height/Weight: 5'11'', 178 lbs
DOB: October 7, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: OHL, Sarnia Sting
Nikolay Goldobin is an enigma to many scouts. Nobody doubts his immense skill set and that he has the potential to be a very dangerous offensive player. But many scouts question whether or not the talented Russian will care enough to be successful on a nightly basis over the course of an 82-game season. Goldobin already spent the last two years in North America, playing for the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.
Goldobin scored 38 goals and 94 points in 67 games for the Sting. He tied for the team lead in both goals and assists and accumulated 23 more points than any of his teammates. The Sting went just 17-44-7 and did not qualify for the playoffs last season.
Although Goldobin was born and raised near Moscow, he was ranked by Central Scouting as a North American skater because he played in the OHL last season.
Full Scouting Report
Goldobin has the kind of natural ability that excites talent evaluators.
TSN's Craig Button summed up the view of many scouts before the draft when he said this about Goldobin:
"Excellent poise with puck and he can hold it to allow the play to develop. Handles puck in traffic very well and while he may not look like he's going fast, he plays fast yet not in a hurry. Takes advantage of what is given to him."
Elite Prospects described Goldobin this way (h/t Brad Friedman, BlueJackets.com):
Goldobin is a dangerous shooter with a wicked release on his wrist shot. He is quick and creative and can make defenders look foolish. He's weak against bigger opponents and can look lost in his own zone but is extremely dangerous and can quietly slide into prime scoring areas.
While there is a lot to like about Goldobin, his play at Sarnia also raised several concerns. One scout was quoted in The Hockey News' draft preview issue as saying Goldobin, "Has great hands. He has tons of ability, but has the tendency to be moody on the ice. He doesn't always show up and that can be frustrating for a team."
This inconsistency may or may not be a result of playing for a Sarnia club that was overmatched on most nights. Some thought it may keep Goldobin out of the first round of the draft, despite his immense talent. If he overcomes this questionable attitude, he could end up being one of the best value picks of the draft in the late first round.
NHL Player Comparison
Goldobin compares with Marian Gaborik of the Los Angeles Kings. Like Gaborik, it may take Goldobin a little longer to adjust to the defensive aspects of playing in the NHL, but he can be a talented goal scorer and setup man who uses his skating ability, hockey smarts and heavy shot to create scoring opportunities.
Goldobin is at least two years away from becoming an NHL regular. He weighs just 178 pounds. While the physical side of his game is not what will make him a good NHL player, he needs to bulk up a bit before he can play 82 games a year against grown men and thrive at the game's highest level. Expect Goldobin to reach the NHL in 2016-17.
At his top potential, Goldobin is a first-line forward who puts fear in opposing players every time he gets the puck on his stick. He is capable of scoring 35 to 40 goals a year if his effort and attitude issues are resolved. He could also accumulate between 75 to 80 points a year, more if he is teamed with enough talented players to convert his passes into goals and get him the puck in quality scoring situations.