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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Anton Zlobin: A guy you should know

Another one of Mother Russia's top hockey prospects for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft who left his home to play in North America, Shawinigan Cataractes winger Anton Zlobin is a guy you should know.

Although not explosive in his skating, Zlobin moves well and has that slippery, serpentine style that exploits gaps and openings. Can blow games open with the quick strike-- either with the breakaway or in close quarters around the net when the puck is in tight. We're talking a finesse player here-- he doesn't possess ideal size (5-11 or 6-0, 181), nor has he demonstrated much of a willingness to take the puck into traffic or take the hit to make the play. Still, he has 13 goals and 25 points in 31 QMJHL games this season. He's got some nice offensive potential.

Red Line Report has a very nice write-up on him in their December issue and he's the eighth-ranked Quebec League prospect by them. He's 69th overall, which puts him in striking distance for the Bruins with that Phoenix third-rounder if that position ends up being his fate. Of course, he's Russian, so he'll have to be seen as a value pick for them. Given the lack of toughness, he just might not fit into their plans.

Of course, this blog exists to make you aware of the various draft prospects out there, so we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention Zlobin. He's steadily generating buzz, but doesn't have the dynamic element or big-name appeal of CHL countrymen Alexander Khokhlachev or Vladislav Namestnikov. Those guys are all but assured of being 1st-rounders, and Khokhlachev could be a top-10 pick when all is said and done.

Here's a grainy video of his 1st QMJHL goal but it shows him do a nice job of picking the pocket of the Drummondville player in the neutral zone, then easily beating the netminder on the breakaway. Vid is compliments of our friend Jerome at NHLDraftVideo:

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