This is going to be my favorite draft profile of the entire series, but it concerns my favorite player in this year's draft. You'll see what I mean.
Dmytro Timashov, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Age: 18 Years Old
Height/Weight: 5'9, 189 pounds
2014-2015 Stats (Including Playoffs): 88 GP, 22, 86 A, 62 PIM, +25 +/-
NHL Central Scouting: 92nd (NA Skaters)
Corey Pronman (ESPN): 66th
Future Considerations: 72nd
Hockey Prospect: 105th
Dmytro Timashov is a player who is incredibly exciting to watch. He doesn't have high-end speed, but has enough in the tank to carry the puck up the ice. From there, he has a lot of tools in his arsenal. His favorite move is to carry the puck up the wing, then curl back and find a trailing forward.
However, as much as Timashov can dominate along the perimeter, he is not strictly relegated to the outside. In general, Timashov is a gifted playmaker capable of setting up his teammates both with possession in the offensive zone as well as on the rush.
One of the biggest complaints about Timashov is in the goalscoring department; he only had 15 goals this season for the Remparts. However, it's not for lack of ability. Rather, Timashov seems reluctant to shoot the puck and instead is always looking to pass. When he does have it in his head to try to score himself, he can be pretty effective at it.
The biggest knock on Timashov is, unsurprisingly, his size. I'm not convinced it's going to be an issue for him. He's a good enough skater that he can be elusive and avoid contact. It also helps that he usually sees plays as they're developing, so he doesn't put himself into bad spots.
That being said, despite Timashov being short, he has an incredibly strong core. So he can absorb contact when necessary.
On top of that, Timashov has the necessary "compete level." He doesn't shy away from contact. He's willing to battle in the corners. He'll fight for loose pucks in the slot.
I see many similarities between Timashov and a young Mats Zuccarello. Like Zuccarello, Timashov lacks in height but has the muscle and heart to compensate for it in many ways. Timashov, like Zuccarello when he first came to North America, needs to improve his skating to hit that next gear. And like Zuccarello, it might take Timashov some time to learn to adjust for the physical mismatches he'll be facing in the pros. But if he pulls it off - and he absolutely has the potential to do so - then he's going to be a special player in the NHL.
Back when I spoke to Ryan Graves, I asked him about Timashov, as they were teammates in Quebec this past season. Graves had a glowing report.
"He’s a fun guy to be around. Has a lot of energy. He’s a small guy but he’s got a crazy amount of skill. He’s got great hands, he’s got a great shot that we always encourage him to use more. I hope he plays in the pros and I think he has all the tools to be able to. Obviously the knock on him is that he’s small, but he’s a strong guy, he’s in great shape. He does well against the big guys even because he’s so quick, so shifty. He’s made some amazing plays this year. He’s got great vision, he’s a pass-first kind of guy, and he’s a fun player to watch."
I am very much convinced that if Timashov was two inches taller then he'd be a lock for the first round. Though his size does hinder him in some ways, I believe his abilities mostly make up for it. And he'll only get better as he grows, both physically and mentally. If Timashov falls into the third round, as seems likely at this point, then I can't see a better player to draft in that territory. He's my pick for this year's draft steal, and I'd encourage the Rangers to find a way to get him; even if it requires trading up.