Ivan Barbashev is a pure sniper.
The Russian-born forward has other parts of his game that make him ready for the next level, but his array of weapons in the offensive zone takes the cake. He possesses an outstanding wrist shot, slap shot, snap shot, backhander and one-timer, highlighted by a terrific release that regularly befuddles goaltenders.
Not only is Barbashev's shot a game-changing element, but his creativity and vision in the offensive zone paired with solid hands put him above others in the draft class. Scouts also love his on-ice awareness and hockey sense - he thinks the game at a very high level.
Despite being ousted in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs in both of his seasons in Moncton, Barbashev had two strong regular seasons with the Wildcats after being drafted first overall in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. He ranked 29th in league scoring this past season with 68 points (25 goals and 43 assists), despite playing only 48 of his team’s 68 games. He was just one point away from tying the team lead in points as well, with 16 less games played than the leader Christophe Lalonde.
Despite having his commitment away from the puck questioned in the past, Barbashev’s defensive game has improved in the past year and it has helped in rounding out his game.
Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting said this about Barbashev:
“The biggest part of his game is that he competes hard. Last year he played wing and later made the adjustment to center, so he’s a pretty adaptable kid with good hockey sense. He does a lot of the little things. His defensive-zone coverage was really impressive.
Dumville also said this about his physicality:
“He definitely can play that physical game and he’s got good size. He’ll fill out and develop into a good-sized player, but it’s early. He’ll definitely be one of the most skilled guys on his team and in the league. I don’t see him playing that physical game night in and night out, but at the same time he’s capable of it.”