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Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Aleksander Barkov

Monday, 06.17.2013 / 9:00 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Aleksander Barkov
Each weekday leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s fifth pick. Related Links: 2013 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History



He dominated in a men’s league. He is the top-ranked European skater according to the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service. He figures to be a top-five pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

Michael Smith
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And he won’t turn 18 years old until Sept. 2, 2013.

He is Aleksander Barkov, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound center who has competed in SM-liiga, Finland’s top professional hockey league, for the past two seasons.

“He’s an NHL-ready player in terms of the fact that he’s already playing with seasoned professionals, playing against guys that have played in the NHL,” said Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes’ head of amateur scouting. “He’s proven that he’s more than capable of holding his own and making a significant contribution.”

Barkov was just 15 years old when he played in 25 games and recorded 17 points (5g, 12a) with Tappara’s under-20 team. In the same season, he represented Finland in international play at the under-16 and under-17 levels.

As a 16-year-old, Barkov made his debut in SM-liiga, skating in 32 games and posting 16 points (7g, 9a). One of only four 2012 tournament players born in 1995, Barkov became the youngest Finn at 16 years and four months old to score a goal in the IIHF World Junior Championship. In seven tournament games, Barkov posted a goal and three assists for the Finnish national team, which dropped a 4-0 decision to Team Canada in the bronze medal game.

ALEKSANDER BARKOV
CENTER
HOMETOWN: TAMPERE, FINLAND
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 205
BIRTHDAY: SEPT. 2, 1995 (AGE 17)

In 2012-13, a European season that saw an influx of NHL talent during the work stoppage, Barkov ranked second on Tappara in scoring with 21 goals and 27 assists (48 points) in 53 games. Barkov was a point-per-game producer in five playoff games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, which required surgery in April and forced him to sit out the fitness portion of the NHL Combine. In the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia, Barkov registered three goals and four assists (7 points) in six games.

“As a young player, he went in there (SM-liiga) and accomplished quite a bit in terms of producing and playing a good two-way game,” MacDonald said. “He put up very good and impressive numbers in the Finnish Elite League, which is a very good professional league.”

Barkov possesses a number of attributes working in his favor, not the least of which is his burly frame. He also has elite vision and a reasonably well-developed two-way game, especially considering his age.

His bloodlines aren’t bad either.

Barkov, born in Finland, is the son of Russian athletes. His father, Alexander, played hockey in Russia and represented the country in three World Championships before moving west to Italy and finally Finland, where he played for Tappara Tampere for ten years. After hanging up the skates, Alexander became the coach of Tappara’s under-18 team and later, the assistant coach of the men’s team. Alexander was an assistant coach in the KHL as recently as last year. Barkov’s mother, Olga, played on the Russian national basketball team.

While not usually in the conversation of the “Big Three” – Seth Jones, Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin – in this year’s draft, Barkov certainly commands consideration. He is the type of forward who would immediately make an impact in the Hurricanes’ lineup.

The four teams picking ahead of Carolina are likely seeing the same upside.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 60 11 28 -14 39
E. Staal 55 18 18 -9 36
E. Lindholm 59 11 16 -15 27
J. Skinner 55 16 9 -15 25
R. Nash 57 7 15 -8 22
N. Gerbe 56 7 14 -11 21
V. Rask 58 8 11 -16 19
J. McClement 60 4 12 1 16
J. Staal 24 4 11 -1 15
A. Semin 36 2 12 -8 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 16 19 4 .914 2.35
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60