This week’s prospects include Mark Rubinchik (Saskatoon Blades), Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals) & Matthew Welsh (Charlottetown Islanders).
Mark Rubinchik - Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
Born: March 21, 1999 – Moksva, Russia
Weight: 181 lbs.
Drafted: 2016 CHL Import Draft - Round #1 (7th overall) by the Saskatoon Blades
A real smart defenceman who likes to leave his mark all over the ice. Good puck mover and shows good skating with mobility. A strong sturdy presence on the backend, he is fast to retrieve pucks and doesn’t hold on to it long. Shows a tremendous amount of intensity on the ice and is a real physical defender who will throw his weight around. He does a good job of showing his competitiveness for a full 60 minutes. He sees the ice well and understands that using his physical strength is the best way to knock a forward off the puck. Lacks the hockey “skill” to be a big game defenceman who can do it all as he is not a big point producer. However, he has shown glimpses of being able to make the jump when he posted three assists in his very first WHL game (but only has only added one point since after 20 games in the young season).
DID YOU KNOW? While Rubinchik split last season between Moscow Dynamo U17 and HK MVD
Balashikha, he is not a stranger to the North American game as he played
with the Little Caesars Bantam program in Detroit for the 2012-13 and
the 2013-14 seasons. While in Detroit, he learned to speak English and
understands the language very well.
Jack Studnicka - Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Born: February 18, 1999 – Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
Weight: 170 lbs.
Drafted: 2015 OHL Draft - Round #1 (21st Overall) by the Oshawa Generals
Known as an extremely coachable player, Studnicka plays a safe game with and without the puck and has developed into a reliable two-way forward who makes a good transition from the offensive zone to the defensive zone. Shows a good amount of speed and hustles back to break up odd-man rushes and uses long reach to intercept cross-ice passes. Never stops and has tremendous work ethic. Very effective in the face-off circle and given consistent power play time. His play five-on-five needs to be more consistent to make a difference at the next level. Bulked up over the summer and appears more confident on the ice from a year ago.
DID YOU KNOW? Born in Tecumseh, Ontario and only 25 kilometres from Detroit, Michigan, Studnicka played his Bantam and midget hockey in Michigan for the renowned Compuware and Belle Tire organizations respectively.
Matthew Welsh - Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL)
Born: July 13, 1999 – Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Weight: 175 lbs.
Drafted: 2015 QMJHL Draft – Round #2 (37th overall) by the Charlottetown Islanders
A quick, agile goalie who does a good job of staying close to his posts taking away any space for pucks to sneak by him. At his size, he must remember to stay on his feet as much as possible to take away the top part of the net and did a good job of remembering that last season. This season at times, he looks like he panics in the crease and causes loose pucks to bounce around in the crease. Otherwise, when he is playing confidently he keeps it simple, controls his rebounds and looks in control. He is not the clear cut #1 goalie in Charlottetown as he splits the crease with overager Blade Mann-Dixon. When he does play, he is showing signs of consistent growth and confidence. Growing a few inches will help him but he is competitive and worthy of taking the #1 role and running with it.
DID YOU KNOW? Matthew’s brother, Nick, is a 19-year old overage defenceman playing for the Shawinigan Cataractes. Nick is a four-year veteran of the QMJHL and has amassed over 200 games and over 80 points.
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5) The Modern Age of Minor Hockey