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Shoulder injury sidelines Barkov

by Mike G. Morreale

The top draft-eligible prospect from Europe on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list, center Aleksander Barkov of Tappara in Finland, will be sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury.

NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told that Barkov sustained a shoulder injury on the first shift of his team's playoff game against IFK Helsinki on Wednesday. Tappara earned a 3-1 victory to take the best-of-7 series, 4-1.

"He will probably miss rest of the season," Stubb told "The injury will not affect his [high] draft status."

Barkov finished the regular season with 21 goals, 48 points and a plus-18 rating in 53 games for Tappara. He produced four assists and a plus-3 rating in five playoff matches.

It will be interesting to see if Barkov remains atop the European list on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking release later next month. The European contingent is loaded with high-end talent, including Barkov and Swedish center Elias Lindholm, who was No. 2 on the European midterm list.

"Lindholm and Barkov are outstanding with their league teams and both could be top five at the draft," Stubb said.

Despite a disappointing seventh-place finish for Finland at the 2013 World Junior Championship, Barkov finished with three goals, seven points and a plus-2 rating in six contests. Stubb admitted that Finland's struggles as a team did nothing to diminish the draft stock of Barkov, who took 22 shots on goal.

Barkov was named the best player at the Under-20 4-Nation Tournament in Sundsvall, Sweden, in November for silver medal-winning Finland. He had three assists in three games, finished with a plus-2 rating and won 59 percent of his faceoffs. He was on the ice for eight of his country's nine goals in the tournament.

"He's big, strong and a hard worker in all areas of the ice," Stubb said. "He's a sniper who can also set up scoring chances for teammates. He's a two-way center with a good understanding of his defensive duties, stickhandles well in tight situations, and always seems to come out as a winner. He'll probably go among the top three at the draft."


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