Draft Profile: Robin Kovacs, AIK IF

A deeper look at AIK forward and potential Rangers draft target Robin Kovacs.

One of my biggest pet peeves regarding the draft, and prospects in general, is when people with limited knowledge and viewings of a player try to evaluate them. Some good advice for evaluating hockey, and for life in general, is to know the limits of your knowledge. As such, I would be doing you a disservice to write an extensive scouting report on forward Robin Kovacs. Luckily, however, our European-based writer, Alex Nunn, has had extensive viewings of Kovacs. He is as qualified to speak about him as anyone you'll find. Consider this draft profile the work of Alex, with me providing some additional thoughts and doing the editing. And make sure to follow Alex on Twitter for some great insight on European prospects.

Robin Kovacs, AIK IF (Swedish Allsvenskan)


Position: Left Wing/Right Wing

Age: 18 Years Old

Height/Weight: 6'0, 172 lbs

2014-2015 Stats: 52 GP, 17 G, 11 A, 63 PIM, -6 +/-

Draft Rankings

NHL Central Scouting: 8th (EU Skaters)

International Scouting Services: 53rd

Corey Pronman (ESPN): 60th

Bob McKenzie (TSN): "Honorable Mention" (Outside top-75)

Craig Button (TSN): Outside top-100

Future Considerations: 51st

Hockey Prospect: 35th

Scouting Report

From Alex:

"Robin Kovacs was, by a distance, the outstanding player on an AIK roster that struggled badly last season after dropping out of the SHL. His 28 points led all club players and, as a result, the 18-year-old’s draft stock rose significantly through 2014/15.

"Kovacs’ game is infectious. He competes hard to win the puck from opposing players then uses his great stickhandling and speed to strike quickly."

Here's an example of Kovacs forechecking hard and forcing the goaltender into a mistake before finding an open teammate.

In the clips Alex sent me, it was apparent that Kovacs has an incredibly sneaky wrist shot that he's able to get off quickly. From Alex:
"He’s an effective, skilled playmaker, but his biggest strength is his shot and he excels at finding space to use it."

From Alex: "Although not a physical player, Kovacs tends to put himself about and does not shy away from contact against bigger opposition. He’s a constant threat on the power play, while his pace and ability to read the game makes him a danger shorthanded.

The Swede can, at times, take unnecessary penalties such is his eagerness to battle for pucks. He plays with an edge and likes to agitate, though at this point he lacks the bulk and strength to be consistently successful in that role.

Kovacs is at his best when he combines his skill on the puck with his tenacity away from it. He reads the play well and has the skating ability and shot to capitalize on mistakes by opposing defenseman in a flash. Despite that, he never rushes the play unnecessarily and has the patience to wait for support.
A reliable all-round player with solid offensive upside capable of contributing at even strength and on special teams."

Based on Alex's scouting report, the few clips I've seen, and scouting reports from others, here is the feel I get for Kovacs: He's a player with no trait that really separates him from the rest but rather is just an all-around good player. He could improve his skating a bit, but is sufficient in that regard for now. He has great hands and uses them to make quick releases on his shots but also set up teammates. He has good vision and thinks the game very well, which makes him an asset in all areas of the ice. He plays with a spark and will mix things up, though needs to cool down with the penalties. He has a good frame but needs to add some muscle.

Loose Comparables

Patric Hornqvist

Jesper Fast

Kovacs should be available around where the Rangers will be picking, unless there is one team that loves him a lot and takes him earlier, which is certainly possible. Why is he in the Rangers' range of late 2nd? Well, I'm honestly not sure. Hockey Service claims they were close to making him a top-30 talent, while Future Considerations ranks him as their "most underrated" player available in this draft. I think there's a concern on upside, perhaps. Kovacs seems like a guy who could easily end up as a second-third line tweener. But there is certainly top-six upside and perhaps even some hope as a low-end first-line winger. Kovacs fits the bill for what Anders Hedberg, the Rangers' Head European Scout, likes; a cerebral, 200-foot player with skating ability and hands.

Previous Draft Profiles

Daniel Sprong

Oliver Kylington

Vince Dunn

Mitch Vande Sompel

Nikita Korostelev

Rasmus Andersson