The Maple Leafs have selected Russian winger Nikita Korostelev of the Sarnia Sting with their final selection of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Korostelev stands 6’1, 196 pounds and rode shotgun to centerman Pavel Zacha, the 2015 sixth overall selection by the New Jersey Devils yesterday, this season in Sarnia. Korostelev’s points per game rate actually slightly eclipsed Zacha’s mark (.96 vs. .92).
With size, skill and just shy of a point per game, the Leafs have grabbed one of the biggest sliders in the seventh if you listen to some of the scouting services predraft rankings:
- #60 by ISS Hockey
- #62 by Future Considerations
- #50 by NHL Central Scouting
- #69 by Bob McKenzie
That’s early third round value, according to the media scouts.
Korostelev came overseas at age 14, playing for the Vaughan Kings and then the Toronto Jr Canadiens of the GTHL, which meant he avoided the Import Draft. He is a former ninth overall pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Draft.
Like the Timashov pick in the fifth round, while there are of course question marks (see below), Korostelev comes with the production and pedigree suggestive of a value higher than his position in the draft.
Mark Hunter’s Take
“I’ve seen quite him a bit. He was having a good year in the first half, and then struggled in the second half and didn’t play quite as well. He’s a player that I think the draft got to him, and he didn’t do quite as well in the second half. I think he felt the heat. We feel he was a good pick at that time in the seventh round.”
Nikita Korostelev Scouting Report
Russian import in his second year in the OHL. Has displayed a strong offensive game not only in open ice but along the wall. A strong puck carrier and stickhandler who has already surpassed his goal totals from his rookie year. Despite the fact that he is thin 175 he certainly plays stronger and bigger than his size. His biggest flaw is almost a complete lack of game when he doesn’t have the puck. That might be a matter of learning and maturing into a 200 game. There is no denying his skill set and abilities to undress defender and surprising speed in the attack zone. He has significant upside and projects as a possible first rounder.
– Bill Placzek, DraftSite.com