Blades Bolster D Through Euro Draft

The Saskatoon Blades have selected 17 year old Russian defenceman Mark Rubinchik in today’s CHL Import Draft. The left-shot defenceman split last season between Moscow Dynamo U17 and HK MVD Balashikha, totaling a combined 4 goals and 7 assists in 27 games. He also played for the Russia national team at both the U17 and U18 world championships. The 6′ 0″, 163 pounder is a native of Moscow.

“Mark was the number one player on our list and we’re thrilled we got him at 7,” says Blades GM Colin Priestner. “He was the assistant captain as an underage player at the World U18 this spring for Team Russia and played prominent roles on the powerplay, penalty kill and even strength.  He’s very physical and has a great one-timer. After he adds some weight to his frame, some expect he’ll be an early round NHL draft pick next year.”

Rubinchik played on the Dynamo youth team but it didn’t take him long to test his skill against skaters in North America. Rubinchik played with the Little Caesars Bantam program in Detroit for the 20012-13 and the 2013-14 seasons.

“It’s great he already learned English as when he was a 12-13 year old in Detroit. We expect him to be a big time player for us for the next 2 to 3 years.”

The International Scouting Service’s Dennis McInnis described Rubinchuk this way:

“Was Team Russia’s best d-men during the World U17 tournament. Russian vision of Scott Stevens, very physical defensemen with a mean streak. Great open ice hitter. Sees the ice well. His physicality was very consistent all week long. Good Skater with Mobility. Retrieves puck quickly and made good decisions moving puck. Played in all game situations including PP/PK units. Really liked his passion and compete level all week. High priority player for 2016 CHL Import draft projects as top pairing at CHL level plus NHL upside with development.”

The Blades expect this pick to build upon the success of their most recent selection in the Euro draft, Libor Hajek from the Czech Republic, who was selected second in the Import Draft a year ago. The 18 year old blueliner, who had 3 goals and 23 assists in 69 games last season, was just picked 37th overall by Tampa Bay in the NHL Entry Draft.

To make room for Rubinchik, the Blades released Nikita Soshnin, who was with the team for the past two seasons. The 19 year old, who was the ninth player taken in the 2014 Import Draft, had 23 points in 64 games last season and 27 points in 70 games the previous season.

The Blades thank Nikita for all he did for the team during that time and wish him the best in his future endeavours.